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November, 1990 

Volume XVI, Number 2 

The Museum of Early Southern 

Decorative Arts 


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November, 1990 

Volume XVI, Number 2 

Published twice yearly in 

May and November by 

The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts 

Copyright © 1990 Old Salem, Inc. 
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27108 

Printed by Hall Printing Company 
High Point, North Carolina 


The Changing York County, South Carolina, 
Tombstone Business, H 50-1850 

Wade B. Fairey 

''The First Effort of an Infant Hand": 
An Introduction to Virginia Schoolgirl 
Embroideries, 1742-1850 


KiMBERLY A. Smith 


Figure 1. Map of York District, South Carolina, from Robert Mills, Atlas of the State 
of South-Carolina, 1825. MESDA Research File (MRF)S-15, 133- Ebenezer Presbyteri- 
an Church (A) and Bethesda Presbyterian Church (B) are shown on this map. 

4/' •'.A. 

I, l> 

Figure 2. Map of Chester District, South Carolina, from Robert Mills, Atlas of the 
State of South-Carolina, 1825. MRFS-13,134. Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church 
(A) is shoivn on this map. 



The Changing York County, South Carolina, 
Tombstone Business, 1750-1850. 


In the mid-eighteenth century a number of inhabitants from 
Scottish (Scots-Irish), Welsh, English, German, and Huguenot eth- 
nic groups began populating the York County, South Carolina, area 
(fig. 1). Although the period marked the beginning of the American 
cultural melting pot, religious and social differences still existed be- 
tween these groups. Each maintained close ties to old work tradi- 
tions. For example, the Scots-Irish, the predominant group, began 
building churches to perpetuate their beliefs shortly after their ar- 
rival in the piedmont region, and the first established churches in 
the area were therefore Presbyterian. Waxhaw Presbyterian Church 
and Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church in adjacent Lancaster and 
Chester counties (fig. 2), respectively were organized in the early 
1750s, and Bethel Presbyterian Church in York County was formal- 
ly established in 1764. 

In conjunction with the erection of community churches was 
the walling off of cemeteries, and tombstones began dotting the 
Presbyterian cemeteries in the 1750s. These tombstones mani- 
fested traditional designs, for tombstone art probably was one of 
the Scots-Irish settlers' strongest cultural links to their homelands. 
For most of the area's inhabitants, however, erecting a tombstone in 
that period was far removed from the rigors of everyday life. Most 
still lived in dirt floor cabins, made their own cloth, and went 
unwashed. The small number of extant eighteenth-century York 
County tombstones is a reflection on the majority of the popula- 
tion's inability to purchase them. Besides the cost of carving, there 
was a hauling fee and other funeral costs. Therefore, for those few 

November, 1990 1 

people who could erect a tombstone, it became a statement of eco- 
nomic and social superiority, and the few examples of York County 
tombstones that remain from that period read like a guide to the 
area's social circles. They also demonstrate a clear pattern of associ- 
ation with organized religion. 

Figure 3- James White tombstone, attributed to Hugh Kelsey, Fishing Creek Pres- 
byterian Church, Chester County, 9 May 1774. HOA 22 ", WOA 17 1/4 ". 


Tombstones became more important religious and social sym- 
bols in York County in the late eighteenth century, marking burial 
sites, giving solace to loved ones, and heralding the spiritual charac- 
ters of the deceased. Their erection also was a lasting tribute to the 
social and religious standings of those memorialized. James White's 
1774 tombstone (fig. 3) at Fishing Creek Church marked the begin- 
ning of an increased demand for tombstones that served the above 

The proliferation of tombstones in York County during the late 
eighteenth century can be attributed to a higher death rate. This was 
a direct result of an influx of settlers between 1763 and 1780. To ful- 
fill the demand, three local sources developed in the region. Hugh 
Kelsey, Samuel Watson, and the Bigham family began dominating 
the tombstone business in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, 
and they executed most of the local tombstones prior to 1820. Each 
of these carvers manifested distinguishing carving features, and 
different styles and images defined their separate contributions. 
Both Kelsey and Watson were associated with their own communi- 
ties and did little commercial carving. Their work was closely tied 
to their immediate families and churches. However, the Bigham 
family carvers of adjacent Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, es- 
tablished themselves as premier commercial carvers. Hundreds of 
their fine stones may be found throughout the United States. 

The first of the local carvers to make a significant contribution to 
tombstone art and development in the region was Hugh Kelsey 
(1754-1817). The son of Robert Kelsey, Sr. (1715-1800), a Scots-Irish 
immigrant, Hugh settled with his family in Chester County It is un- 
clear how he learned his trade, but it is possible that he was in- 
fluenced by members of his own artisan family. Samuel Kelsey, a 
Chester County blacksmith and Hugh's kinsman, also lived near 
Fishing Creek Church. During the southern campaign of the Ameri- 
can Revolution, Samuel reported that in July 1780 he "was robbed 
of everything and the swords he had been manufacturing were car- 
ried off" by the British.' 

Hugh Kelsey 's work as a tombstone carver began before the 
American Revolution and continued until his death in 1817, 
although during the war he also supplied the local militia with hol- 
sters, sword scabbards, waist belts, and capes. ^ Most of his tomb- 
stones can be found at Fishing Creek Church. His earliest 
attributable piece probably was the circa 1774 James White tomb- 
stone with its wonderful images of "noble man," vines, and 
rosettes. Kelsey 's tombstones are characterized by the thick, squat 

November, 1990 3 

Figure 4. Mary Brown tombstone, attributed to Hugh Kelsey, Fishing Creek Pres- 
byterian Church, Chester County, 1779- HOA 25 1/2 ", WOA 18 1/4 ". 

form demonstrated by Mary Brown's stone (fig. 4) of 1779. Kelsey 
represented her life with large rosettes, encircling vines, and, a bird, 
resembling a hummingbird, within a small branch atop the stone. 
Only his earliest stones feature these designs; by the nineteenth 
century his carvings had became far less detailed. In 1808, the year 
he executed Thomas Gill's tombstone (fig. 5) no expression of his 
eighteenth-century imagery remained. The stone, which cost the 
Gill estate 16, is devoid of decoration. ^ 


Figure 5. Thomas Gill tombstone, attributed to Hugh Kelsey, Fishing Creek Pres- 
byterian Church, Chester County, 29 September 1808. HOA 15 3/4", WOA 16". 

Kelsey died in 1817. His estate inventory listed "one lot of stone 
cutting tools" valued at $2.01 and $25 worth of assorted tomb- 
stones in various stages of completion.'' It would have been help- 
ful if this record had given the source of his stone and a reference 
to his knowledge of eighteenth-century designs. However, it does 
indicate that Kelsey was working with rough stones and not pre-cut 
forms. His headstones contribute toward the clarification of popu- 
lar images acceptable to the local population and are important 
links to their Scottish heritage. 

November, 1990 


Figure 6. Hannah Watson headstone, by Samuel Watson, Beersheba Presbyterian 
Church. York County 13 August n90. HOA 30 1/2 ".- WOA 15 3/4 ". 

Bridging the gap between Hugh Kelsey's perpetuation of Scottish 
traditions and the commercialization of early nineteenth-century 
carvers were the carvings of Samuel Watson of York County Unfor- 
tunately, very little information on Watson's life is available. He can- 
not be considered a professional stone carver, for the few extant 
examples of his work are not polished and exhibit only a small 
degree of influence from outside the York County area. The tomb- 
stones attributed to Watson differ significantly from Kelsey's; they 
are characterized by less bulk and much stronger vertical lines. 
Many have high, sharp shoulders with round bead molding com- 
pleting their edges. A 1790 tombstone (fig. 6) found at Beersheba 


Figure 7. Hannah Watson footstone, signed by Samuel Watson. HOA 18". WOA 
9 1/4 ". 

Presbyterian Church, signed at the foot by Watson (fig. 7) and 
carved for his mother Hannah, features a primitive portrait sur- 
rounded by stars. 

Watson's designs and workmanship appear to have been in- 
fluenced by factors in his own community, particularly the work of 
the Bigham family This is demonstrated by his use of slate as a carv- 
ing medium and the application of images similar to those of 
Bigham headstones. The American eagle on Amarandahe Fullton's 
stone (fig. 8) for example, seems to be a poor copy of the Bigham's 

November, 1990 


W' ••■1: '9.' >•''■' 

Figure 8. Amarandahe Fidlton tombstone, attributed to Samuel Watson. Ebenezer 
Presbyterian Church. Rock Hill, [date buried]. HOA 25 ", WOA 22 1/2 ". That Watson 
was influenced by the Bigham family of carvers is evident in the similarity between 
this stone and that of Elisabeth Adams (fig. 10). 

popular motif. Its detail is less clean, the proportions less appealing, 
and its appearance is more like that of a chicken than an eagle. 

The Bigham family carvers of Steele Creek, Mecklenburg County, 
North Carolina, were influential in shaping the York County tomb- 
stone traditions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth cen- 
turies. Evidence establishing that at least six different carvers were 
cutting gravestones in the Bigham workshop has been found in var- 
ious wills and legal documents. The oldest was Samuel Bigham, Sr., 



-., ill*. 



A loverof mankind';!/ 
afr.'^ To Hi*: counTiy 
v/ho depaTedrhic life 
^/lH re H, ]7ii4l\<Ae d <::f:Yp? 

'■nit- '^''' '^''^''' ^^""^ '''*"' ^^'^ hrMryrfi 'y)\ 


Figure 'J. Alexander Love tombstone, attributed to tbe Bigham family. Bethesda 
Presbyterian Church, York County, March 1784. HOA 24", WOA 19 5/4". Alexander 
Love was an early political leader in York County, tie was elected to the Second 
Provincial Congress in 17~'5. 

who arrived with his wife in Mecklenburg County during the 
1760s. Samuel Bigham, Jr., probably was the shop's most skilled ar- 
tisan; he was proud enough of his abilities to punctuate his signa- 
ture on legal documents with the initials s. c. for stone cutter.^ 

Examples of the Bighams' work can be found throughout most 
of York County's nineteenth-century burial sites. It is of high qual- 
ity, exhibiting a wide variety of designs and styles. Sharp edging 
(fig. 9), clear images, and the use of a number of popular motifs 

November, 1990 


M.S. -ii^^". OR 

■Who died Nov.idl'[soK 
A^^ed. /3.Ycar5 ^1.4. nioiinths, 


/..^LorJ 1 comrailviiiy lotil U^ lb 

c c 

Accopi Ihe Incr-^e 

cl Iriill, 


\ n cl vvM [ di mv ■ 1 ieepi n p' ^: lull . 


Figure 10. Elisabeth Adams tombstone, attributed to the Bigham family. Bethel 
Presbyterian Church. Chester County 10 November 1801. HOA 25 ". WOA 16 1/2 ". 

reflect a sophistication lacking in the work of Kelsey and Watson 
and place the Bighams in the category of professional carvers. Their 
carvings also capture in stone a point in America's past when eth- 
nic origins were being supplanted by an emerging sense of national 
identity The gravemarkers they created from 1750 to 1780 reflect 
the Bighams' northern Irish roots; those carved from the American 
Revolution until 1815 incorporated distinctly American symbols.'' 



Figure 11. Hugh Berry tombstone, attributed to the Bigham family. Bethel Pres- 
byterian Church, Chester County, jO August 1802. HOA 24 ", WOA 19 3/4 ". 

Images used by the Bighams include coats of arms, animals, winged 
death heads, doves of peace, floral designs, all-seeing eyes, and 
American eagles (fig. 10). Early nineteenth-century Bigham carvings 
also include various combinations of geometric fan motifs and in- 
lay lines (fig. 11). Other common Bigham traits are back carving, 
chamfered corners, and beaded edging. 

November, 1990 


Although leading families in Chester, Lancaster, and York coun- 
ties purchased large quantities of tombstones from the Bighams 
well into the nineteenth century, their significant status as the area's 
leading carvers eventually foundered in the 1820s. Several factors 
were responsible for this erosion of their hold on the local tomb- 
stone business. Cultural differences became less distinct in the 
second quarter of the nineteenth century as members of various 
ethnic groups merged, creating a new social order and resulting in 
an unconscious simplification of norms that united much of the 
area's society. The economic changes that a new agrarian system — 
cotton production — created brought different patterns of social 
and religious behavior as a new class of farmers, merchants, and ar- 
tisans emerged in the South Carolina Backcountry. These fledgling 
members of the middle class then became interested in the social 
order and community responsibility that came with church mem- 
bership. According to Dr. George C. Rogers, Jr., the ranks of the 
region's churchgoers swelled in the early nineteenth century: "In 
1799 only eight percent of white adults in the Upcountry were 
church members; by 1810 twenty-percent were church members."^ 
The travels of this new class also exposed them to urban tombstone 
styles and funeral customs, and this awareness of style coupled with 
the growth of church membership resulted in an increased demand 
for headstones. A handsome tombstone became a popular symbol 
of dignity and importance. 

The Bigham family apparently was either unaware of or unpre- 
pared for these changes, and as their business declined, brothers- 
in-law John Caveny (1778-1853) and James Crawford (1775-1842) of 
York County captured a majority of the tombstone business in the 
early nineteenth century. These men ushered in a new era of tomb- 
stone designs required by affluent planters and merchants. Their 
carvings manifested only a few ties to the eighteenth-century carv- 
ings of Kelsey, Watson, or the Bighams. Caveny 's two earliest head- 
stones, for example, retain a few traditional images which he 
combined with the nineteenth-century urban form. The earliest of 
his extant stones (fig. 12) found at Bethel Presbyterian Church and 
carved for James Jackson in 1807 features a winged death head that 
is clearly out of place on the nineteenth-century form. John 
McCall's stone (fig. 13) also executed in 1807 and signed by Caveny 
is more elaborate, mixing Masonic symbols with a skull and cross- 
bones and a traditional hour glass. These signed stones established 
Caveny as an engraver and served as advertisements for his work. 


Figure 12. James Jackson tombstone signed by John Caveny. Bethel Presbyterian, 
Chester County 1807. HOA 46", WOA 21 1/2". 

■ i 




.1/Vi^ ''^ ' tv » ^ 

Figure 12a. Detail of Jackson tombstone showing Caveny's mark. Caveny identi- 
fied himself as an engraver for advertising purposes. 

November, 1990 


Figure 13- John McCall tombstone, signed by John Caveny, Bethesda Presbyterian 
Church, York County 10 July 1807. HOA 50 5/4 ", WOA 18 1/4 ". 



In general, however, early nineteenth-century carvers made a 
clean break from eighteenth-century conventions. Avon Neal 
summed up the changes in the trade as follows: "Imaginative grave- 
stone carving flourished ... to the early I800s; after that, the urn 
and the willow became standard motifs, and the art declined rapid- 
ly."« Most of Caveny s and all of Crawford's stones demonstrate their 
knowledge of urban styles and changing norms. Such conformity 
was also a reflection of the economic pressures wrought by com- 
petition from urban, particularly Charleston, carving firms. York 
County's earliest documented commercial tombstone, ordered for 
Mary Feemster in 1776, was an oddity in its time, but by the second 
decade of the nineteenth century, more local residents were turn- 
ing to the use of commercial stones. This new market for urban 
carving firms rapidly developed in York County and was responsi- 
ble for the introduction of new styles, images, and business rela- 
tionships. In 1818 T. W. Walker, a leading Charleston tombstone 
carver, shipped the William Pettus family of York County a 
357-pound tombstone. The stone cost the Pettus estate $41.65 plus 
an $8.03 hauling charge.^ A headstone of local sandstone cut by 
Crawford the same year for local militia leader Colonel Frederick 
Hambright only cost $22, but apparently the local carvers' lower 
prices had little effect on the demand for commercial stones in York 
County. The Charleston firms owned by James Hall, T W. Walker, 
and James Rowe all supplied stones to the area after 1810.'" Twenty 
years later, Columbia stone cutters W. T White, Boyne and Sproul, 
R. G. Brown, and Alex Brown also were shipping stones to York 

A few York County carving families managed to contend with the 
city firms, mostly by following those trends set by their urban com- 
petitors, stifling their own traditions and creativity, and serving 
middle class clients who could not afford the stylish monuments 
imported by the wealthy upper class. A community of profession- 
al stone cutters grew up around the abundant granite sites near 
Kings Mountain in the northern section of York County during the 
nineteenth century. The Caveny, Crawford, Houser, Morrow, and 
MuUinax families all worked these quarries for financial gain, 
producing the majority of tombstones found in the region until the 
mid-nineteenth century. These local quarries also were important 
sources of material for carvers well into the nineteenth century. 
Henry Houser (1756-1822) and his wife Jane built a stone house 
about 1803 from sandstone quarried on their own property.' ' This 
vein also ran through John Caveny 's property and the Crawfords'. 

November, 1990 15 

Figure 14. Eliza Lucinda McCall tombstone, signed by John Caveny, Bethesda Pres- 
byterian Church, York County 20 October 1829. HOA 58", WOA 24 1/4". This stone 
is an example of the changes in style wrought by urban competition. The masonic 
symbols and skull and crossbones of earlier traditions found on John McCall's 
stone (fig. 13} part of which is illustrated here, were replaced by the weeping wil- 
low 22 years later 

In 1842 James Crawford willed his sons "one half of my stone quar- 
ry tract of land lying on part of Kings Mountain near the memori- 
al hill called the Battleground and the crowbar between him and his 
brother William for use of the quarry."'^ 

From this community John Caveny emerged as the leading tomb- 
stone carver in York County in the 1820s, and his ability to accept 
new styles (fig. 14) and adapt to changing situations kept him in 






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! .,.,„ ^ /'/• 


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Figure 15. Hugh Cain tombstone, signed by John Caveny. Beersheba Presbyterian 
Church, York County 25 June 1839- HOA 45 1/2", WOA 21 1/2". 


f/^^z/rc 15(1. Detail oj l-igiire /_^, (.areny\ mark on Hugh Laiii.s .s/u/zt- resembles a 
silversmith's stamp. 

November, 1990 


business until his deatii in 1853. In the 1830s he and his son Robert 
C. Caveny (1808-90) introduced two unusual tombstone styles 
demonstrated by stones carved for Hugh Cain in 1839 (fig. 15) and 
Elias Carroll in 1843. The designs of these stones were drawn from 
earlier models, and if they had been carved twenty years earlier 
might have been more popular. For the most part, however, Cave- 
ny s work after 1820 became far less imaginative (figs. 16, 17, 18, 19). 
He adopted the high shoulder and tombstone profile used by his 
urban competitors, but continued carving them from locally quar- 
ried stone. 

TO TJ-jk ^■ 

^l^iav^rliMl ihii \ 

. O l-'f r 

1 . 


jtrr-oiioi' I 


iti'T^fhhr Loirlj 

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Figure 16. Robert Davison tombstone, signed by John Caveny, Bethesda Presbyteri- 
an Church, York County 23 Oct. 1832. HOA 36 1/2 ", WOA 21 1/2 ". 



- -1 "^ •-■■ 

^' ^ -^ 

Figure 17. Jonathan Sutton tombstone, by John Caveny. Beersheba Presbyterian 
Church, York County 1838^ HOA J6 1/2", WOA 22 3/4". According to an estate 
record, Caveny was paid Jor carving this stone. 

November, 1990 


Figure 18. Infant son of John and Mary Brown tombstone, signed by John Cave- 
ny, Beersbeba Presbyterian Church, York County, 21 November 1836. HOA 35 ", 
WOA 9 1/2 ". 




- //>4 f/ '^^ t; ' I '- A '^ 

. * j i jKj ilMfcfl 




Figure 19- Elizabeth Davison tombstone, signed by John Caveny, Bethesda Pres- 
byterian Church. York County 21 April 1843. HOA 42 1/2 ", WOA 20 1/4 ". 

November, 1990 


James Crawford also managed to attract a large business by con- 
forming his work to that of his competitors. Hambright's stone, for 
example, with its strong vertical silhouette, high shoulders, and half- 
round pediment, is Crawford's version of a popular nineteenth- 
century urban form. His sons Robert M. Crawford (1804-80) and 
William N. Crawford (1808-94) entered the business in the early 
1830s. The work of both (figs. 20, 21, 22, 23) exhibited a high 
degree of imagination and good workmanship and brought about 
a renewed, albeit fleeting, emphasis on creativity. Most of their 
carvings were adaptations of such prevalent mid-nineteenth cen- 
tury images as the weeping willow. 

It was at this point, about 1840, that the commercial monument 
business cornered the market. To stay in business many of the lo- 
cal carvers restricted their prices and coordinated their work with 
larger commercial firms by hiring themselves out as engravers. One 
of the earliest examples of such a joint venture was John Currence's 
1827 tombstone; John Caveny engraved the imported stone." ^ In 
1832 Caveny was paid $10 for engraving a stone purchased in 
Columbia.''' Robert C. Caveny also was an engraver. In 1830 he was 
hired to engrave a commercial stone and earned $6.42 for his ef- 
forts. The same estate paid the monument company $18 for the 
stone and a hauling fee of $2.70.'5 The growing popularity of mar- 
ble tombstones also contributed to the demand for engravers rather 
than full carvers. By 1845 the use of marble was so widely accept- 
ed that it had virtually supplanted other local tombstone materials 
such as granite and sandstone. Tombstone engravers themselves 
were even using marble for their own headstones. F. H. Morrow's 
marble headstone, engraved by John Caveny, had the following 
inscription: "Sacred to the memory of/Frederick H. Morrow/ an 
ingenious mechanic/ in Monument work/ Who departed this life/ 
Feb. 24th 1845/ In the 39th year of his age." 

One new carver did manage to confront the overwhelming de- 
mand for commercial marble stones and introduce his carving tech- 
niques in the 1840s. Martin MuUinax, who grew up in rural York 
County, began carving stones from local material using his own in- 
terpretations of weeping willow and eternal flame motifs. Tomb- 
stones attributable to him can be located in outlying areas of York 
County; however, few examples of his work have been found in 
more populated sections. Mullinax's popularity was short-lived. By 
1858 he had abandoned his carving career for the innkeeping 
business and ownership of the Mullinax House in York.'^ 


feu n1-iL> 







Figure 20. Sarah A. Baniwell tombstone, by Robert M. Crawford. Bethel Presbyteri- 
an. Clover 23 September 1820. HOA 26 'l/2", WOA 15 5/8". 

November, 1990 


u ^^ c 



*;> 'i ■ST* 

Figure 21. James Quinn tombstone, by Robert M. Crawford, Bethany Associated 
Reformed Presbyterian Church, York County 24 June 1846. HOA 35 1/4", WOA 16". 

By 1850 the standardization of cut marble stones had engulfed 
the rural markets. These mid-nineteenth century stones, like their 
eighteenth-century counterparts, emulated architecture, but they 
were far less interesting. Most resembled public monuments on pri- 
vate property, reflecting the impact of the Greek Revival and Gothic 
styles. Obelisk tombstones also came into vogue. These factors 
further isolated local carvers, as did the demand for raised tomb- 
stone tablets rather than traditional upright stones. These tablets 



Figure 22. William Dickson tombstone, by William N. Crawford. Bethany Asso- 
ciated Reformed Presbyterian Church, York County. 30 Dec. 1831. HOA 49", WOA 
22 1/4 ". 

November, 1990 


\\ X c 


Figure 23- Detail oj James Crawford tombstone, by William N. Crawford, 
Bethany Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church. York County, 8fuly 1842. HOA 

52 1/2 "", WOA 19 3/4 ". ' 

began appearing before 1850; however, William L. McConnell's 
1850 example was the first documented in York County estate 
records. It cost $47 and included the base and pillars provided by 
Richard Hare of Yorkville, a local brick contractor who had entered 
the monument business in 1846.'^ York County artisans did much 
of the engraving on these tablets, but with little of the area's earli- 
er carvers' imagination or creativity, which had virtually vanished 
from the tombstone business by 1850. 



Figure 24. Nathaniel P. Kennedy tombstone, signed by Richard Hare. Beersheba 
Presbyterian Church. York County. 14 May 1853. HOA 51 ". WOA 23 1/2 ". 

November, 1990 


Interestingly enough, more documented information about tiie 
York County tombstone business and other funeral trappings is 
available from written records in the two decades before 1850 than 
any other earlier period. In the years preceding the 1820s, probate 
papers rarely listed funeral costs as parts of estates settlements; in 
the 1840s records of such expenses were common. William Quinns 
1833 inventory was one of the first to have a separate entry for 
funeral expenses, stating that his coffin trimmings cost $5.'^ In 1836 
an estate record included the following notation: "$25.00 was re- 
tained in hand for a tombstone and setting it up."'9 Such costs in- 
creased dramatically after 1840. In 1839 "burial cloths" for N. M. 
Folks 's funeral were valued at $6.31 1/4.^° In 1841 "coffin and trim- 
mings" for Amos E. Moss cost $15, and an additional $9.41 was 
spent on his burial clothing. By 1845 funeral trimmings were being 
furnished to at least one estate for $20, and other expenses listed 
were: "digging the grave" at 62 cents, preaching the funeral at $5, 
and enclosing the grave for $5.12 1/2.^' 

Apparently, by the mid-nineteenth century, no expense was 
spared for a dignified and respectable funeral, and that included an 
impressive headstone decorated with urns, willows (fig. 24), and 
eternal flames. Local carvers either were reduced to mere engrav- 
ers, like the Cavenys and the Crawfords with little, if any input into 
the creation of these commercial monument, or they had left the 
business altogether like Mullinax. A representative entry from an 
1842 York County probate record sums up the small role left to lo- 
cal carvers in the tombstone business at that time: Robert Caveny 
was paid $5.70 for "engraving the headstone," Boyne and McKen- 
zie charged $11 for supplying the headstone, and Thomas H. Smith 
was paid $10 for the coffin." 

Wade Fairey is the Director of Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, South 



1. Elizabeth F. Ellet, Women in the American Revolution, 4th ed. (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1975-6), 

2. Bobby S. Moss, Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution (Baltimore, 
1983), 525. 

3. Probate Judge Records, File 21, Pk. 318, 1812, Chester County, South Carolina. 

4. Ibid., File 33, Pk. 500, 1817 

5. Edward W. Clark, "The Bigham Carvers of the Carolina Piedmont: Stone Images of an 
Emerging Sense of American Identity," in R. E. Meyers, ed.. Cemetery and Grave Markers 
(Ann Arbor, Mich., 1988), 37 

6. Ibid, 32. 

7. George C. Rogers, "Who is a South Carolinian?" South Carolina Historical Magazine 89, 
no. 1 (Jan. 1988): 7 Rogers cites Lacy Ford as the source of these statistics. 

8. Avon Neal, "Gravestone Rubbing," Americana Magazine (Sept. 1974); 16. 

9. Probate Records, File 35/1464, 1818, 336, York County, S. C. 

10. Walker's tombstones were particularly popular in York County Apparently he and his work 
were respected in Charleston, as well. When James Hall died in 1823, Walker was appointed 
executor of his estate and identified as a stone cutter. Wills, No. 36, 1818-26, 850, Charleston 

1 1 . Edwin Vearss and M. Adderstein, Historic Structure Report. Houser House. Historical and 
Archaeological Data (National Parks Service, 1974). 

12. Probate Judge Records/ Wills, James Crawford, 1842, York County 

13. Probate Records, File 13/ 550, 1827, 167 York County 

14. Ibid, File 27/ 119, 1832, 1094. 

15. Ibid, File 45/ 1119, 1830,632. 

16. Yorkville Enquirer, l\]2n. 1858. 

17. Probate Records, File 13/ 584, 1850, 53, York County 

18. Ibid., File 35/ 1527 373. 

19. Ibid., File 8/ 338, 1836. 

20. Ibid., File 5/ 192, 1838,305. 

21. Ibid., File 3/ 118, 1845, 198. 

22. Ibid., File 71/ 3503, 1942, 179. 

November, 1990 29 


Figure 1. A Map of the Internal Improvements of Virginia, by C. Crozet, engraved 
by P. S. DuVal. Philadelphia. 1848. Dimensions not recorded. Museum of Early 
Southern Decorative Arts, photograph by Wesley Stewart. Schoolgirl embroider- 
ies from 59 Virginia counties and cities have been located. Except as noted, the ob- 
jects illustrated in this article are in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg 
Foundation, and the dimensions are of unframed pieces with height/length given 
first. Photographs by Hans Lorenz. 



''The First Effort of an Infant Hand'': 
An Introduction to Virginia Schoolgirl 
Embro ideries, 1 742-1850 

KimberlyA. Smith 

Until recently, documented Virginia schoolgirl embroideries 
were rare, and, like other southern decorative arts, few were 
thought to exist. Over the years this apparent scarcity of surviving 
southern and Virginia needlework has been attributed to several 
different factors. The rural environment created by the plantation 
system, as opposed to the more urban centers in the North, was be- 
lieved to discourage the establishment and maintenance of needle- 
work schools and teachers. The supposed laziness and indolence 
of southern girls also were considered contributing factors to the 
lack of southern needlework. Sally Wister, a young Philadelphian, 
damaged the reputation of Virginia girls for two centuries when she 
wrote in her journal in 1778 that Captain Alexander Spotswood 
Dandridge, a Virginia visitor to her home, "observ'd my sampler, 
which was in full view. Wish'd I would teach the Virginians some of 
my needle wisdom; they were the laziest girls in the world."' 

A hot, humid climate that was not conducive to working or 
saving needlework has often been blamed for the sparseness of 
southern examples. One period Williamsburg reference gives a 
good indication of the difficulties of stitching needlework in the 
warm, muggy weather. In August 1769 Anne Blair wrote her sister 
about her ten-year-old daughter, Betsey Braxton, who was staying 
with Anne for the summer. "She has finsh'd her work'd Tucker, but 
the weather is so warm, that with all the pain s I can take with clean 
hands, and so forth she cannot help dirtying it a little."^ 

November, 1990 31 

Some pieces of needlework are thought to have been the casual- 
ties of war, stolen by northern soldiers as they plundered and loot- 
ed their way through the South. One such example is a sampler 
begun in 1793 by Martha Carter Fitshugh of Chatham in Stafford 
County. 5 

Martha's sampler is a simple one recording family births, deaths, 
and marriages. She died at the age of seven before finishing it, leav- 
ing her work to be completed by another family member. Eventu- 
ally the sampler passed into the possession of Martha's niece, Mrs. 
Robert E. Lee. It was stolen when Union troops captured Arlington 
House in 1861. In 1897 the sampler was recognized at the World's 
Fair "in a case containing relics exhibited by the Essex Institute in 
Salem, Massachusetts." Douglas H. Thomas, then editor of the Vir- 
ginia Historical Magazine, wrote: "This sampler was no Doubt 
'obtained' during the war by some of the 'visitors' to Virginia, and 
if publication is made of the fact, it is possible the owner might be 
found."'^ In 1979 the Essex Institute transferred the sampler to 
Arlington House. ^ 

Despite these earlier theories, it is clear from period documents 
that Virginia girls were working samplers and embroideries in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Newspapers contain numer- 
ous advertisements by needlework teachers, stores advertised and 
sold the necessary materials, and surviving letters and journals 
describe the embroideries of girls and young women. More phys- 
ical evidence of their work has also been found. In the past few 
years, over 125 schoolgirl embroideries have been documented and 
attributed to Virginia, and the research is still in its early stages.*^' 
Spanning the years from 1742 to the mid-nineteenth century, sam- 
plers and pictures have been located in fifty-nine Virginia counties 
and cities (fig. 1). They were created by girls from the age of six to 
young womanhood and demonstrate a variety of materials, stitches, 
designs, and levels of skill. ^ 

Along with documentary sources such as diaries and letters, 
examples of plain and decorative sewing are rare surviving arti- 
facts that provide insight into the lives of young Virginia girls and 
women during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Of all the 
needlework done by girls, samplers are particularly key in bringing 
us closer to understanding their world. Samplers provide significant 
information about the environment in which they were created. 
Details of a needleworker's life such as her name, age, and birth date 
(fig. 2) appear on many Virginia samplers. Some even tell where the 
needleworker lived and give information about her family. The 



m IF ga -V ». 

< V, - ■•''■ 

r.ii»i?4»»| fl^^S Arr«U. p. '>^ y^int, fc^D cj 


Figure J. Detail of sampler (see fig. 6). by Nancy Prentis Barber. Richmond. 1800. 
Accession 198"- ^-t. Nancy Barber was 10 years old when she completed this sam- 
pler on a fine linen ground of 56 X 6-i threads per inch. Note the rerersal (fthe a 's. 
b's. t's. and n's. 

materials used may have been the preference of the young nee- 
dleworker or, more likely, her teacher, but they also indicate what 
supplies were available in local stores. The techniques and variety 
of stitches used illustrate some of the practical skills that were 
thought necessary in order for a young woman to be a successful 
housekeeper. The format and pictorial qualities give clues to what 
was conceived as aesthetically pleasing, while the religious and 
moral verses forcibly remind us of the expectations that eighteenth- 
and nineteenth-century parents had of their daughters. 

The sampler was originally a cloth used to practice embroidery 
patterns, designs, and appropriate stitches for marking linens with 
alphabets and numerals. Valuable linens (fig. 3) and clothing such 
as shifts and shirts were marked with numbers and initials in or- 
der to keep sets together and to ensure that items sent out to be 
laundered or mended were returned to the proper owner. This 
practice continued into the nineteenth century and was the fore- 
runner of the modern-day practice of monogramming. 

November, 1990 


Figure 3 ■ Woolen blankets, damask linen napkins and pillowcases, England and 
America, eighteenth century. All are marked with their owners ' initials and iden- 
tifying numbers. 

The oldest surviving dated English sampler was made in 1598 by 
Jane Bostocke.^ Pictorial and written evidence suggests, however, 
that samplers or similar embroideries were being done at least a 
century earlier.^ These early samplers (fig. 4) were typically long 
and narrow, were worked in bands of geometrical patterns, flowers 
and vines, alphabets, and verses, and were intended to be used as 
records of different stitches and embroidery patterns. As a new 
stitch was learned, it was added onto the sampler, which might 
have been rolled and tucked in a basket for easy storage; it could be 
unrolled later and used as a reference when mending or sewing. It 
is evident from the beauty of some of these early pieces that they 
were also meant to be demonstrations of a young girl's proficien- 
cy in the needle arts. 



The earliest known American sampler was worked some time be- 
fore 1656 by Loara Standish, daughter of Captain Myles Standish 
who came to Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620."^ Early Ameri- 
can samplers resembled English examples in their general size, 
shape, and format. Not until the second quarter of the eighteenth 
century did American samplers take on their own distinct identity 
and became typically less formal and symmetrical than contem- 
porary British ones." English samplers (fig. 5) retained the seven- 
teenth-century form longer while American samplers began to 
change in shape and format early in the eighteenth century. During 
that time the sampler evolved from a long narrow piece — usually 
not intended to be framed — to a shorter, mostly rectangular but 
sometimes square, sampler with four decorative borders (fig. 6) that 
could be framed and displayed as the showpiece of a daughter's 
needlework accomplishments. 

Figure 4. Framed needlework samplers, silk on linen with padded details, by Mary 
Best. England. 1693- 54" X 8 1/2" (original dimensions). Ace. 1955-45 and 
1955-46. Some time in the late eighteenth century these samplers were created by 
cutting one long sampler apart. The inscription reads "John Best My Father Deare 
Paid for This That I Did Hear Mary Best." 

November, 1990 


Figure 5. Sampler, silk on linen, reverse view, by Rebekah Osborne, England, 1728. 
18" X 9 1/2 ". Ace 1950-154. This sampler is not as elongated as its predecessors, 
marking the change in shape of English samplers. Its extremely neat back is a 
characteristic of many English and Virginia samplers. 




.i-* ^ , . ^ ^W+i* *<-^' f til >»ttoa« 

^ Tii.ifht *-• the To»)i«r ♦h«t p»»JfS o,f ^ <; • r ' ,» ,. . 

TBI', bi»c*it.r Ir^i'iP*'-^* Aib^wa 


T«t,, „f;„r J^»J- i ,»OAd-8*.^, t>»»» \ 


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Figure 6. Sampler, silk on linen, by Saucy Preutis Barber Richmond, 1800. 21 IM " 
X 19 ". (See fig. 1). This sampler illustrates the complete evolution of the sampler 
to a rectangle with a greater width than length. 

As the shape of the sampler changed, so did its significance and 
meaning. It became even clearer that the sampler was more than 
just a learning device for stitches and needlework patterns. In ad- 
dition to representing a young woman's proficiency in the art of 
the needle, the finished sampler made a declaration about her 
character. It was a verification of her diligence, virtue, and good 
house-mistress skills, all important to fulfilling a woman's role in 
eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century societies. The pious 
verses (fig. 7) the sampler-maker chose to stitch — or more likely 
were chosen for her — reflected an awareness of the proper be- 
havior that society instilled in young women. The more elaborate 
samplers and embroideries also made a definite social statement 
proclaiming that the needleworker's family was of the social and 
financial level that could afford to send her to school or pay for 

November, 1990 


Figure 7. Sampler, silk on cotton, by Emma Page, Clarke County, c. 1840. 5 1/2 " X 
3 3/4 ". Ace. 1918-162. Emma Page was born at Pagebrook, her family's estate, in 
1833- She married Phillip Nelson of Nelson County and had two children before 
she died in 1860 at the age of 27. 



Instruction in needlework was a common thread in the lives of 
young girls of most social and economic levels, for it was felt that 
it ultimately prepared them for adulthood. In a 1787 letter to his 
daughter Martha, then enrolled in a French convent school, Thom- 
as Jefferson wrote: 

In the country life of America there are many moments 
when a woman can have recourse to nothing but her needle 
for employment. In a dull company and in dull weather for 
instance . . . The needle is then a valuable resource. Besides 
without knowing to use it herself, how can the mistress of 
a family direct the works of her servants?'^ 

Frances Baylor Hill of Hillsborough (fig. 8) in King William County 
described her many needlework activities in a diary she kept from 
1 January to 31 December 1797. During that time Frances worked 
on some type of sewing or needlework project almost every day of 
the year — 234 days to be exact, but never on Sundays. Her projects 
ranged from the plain sewing, such as mending, darning, and alter- 
ing, that girls of all social classes needed to know to the more 
decorative or "fancy" needlework that was expected of wealthier 
girls with more leisure time. Entries such as, "drew a patron [pat- 

Figurc 8. Hillsborough orerlooks the Mcittcipoiii Rircr in King unci (Jiieen County 
and is the dwelling of Hill family descendants. 

November, 1990 


tern] and work'd a handkerchief," "finish'd my pincushion," and "I 
work a few leaves on my counterpain [bedspread]," arouse curiosity 
about the appearance of her projects. Frances's final entry written 
on Sunday 31 December 1797, provides a colorful glimpse into her 
personality: "I finish'd my Counterpain on Saturday which has been 
about 3 year; And now make a conclusion of my journal which has 
been rather more tedious than 1 suppos'd it would have been when 
I first began."' 3 That it took Frances only three years to complete 
her counterpane is remarkable considering her many other projects 
during the same period. An advertisement in the Norfolk Gazette 
dated 19 August 1807 gives a rare bit of information about the 
needlework prowess of a runaway slave girl. Such skills were prob- 
ably taught to her by her mistress: 

Ranaway from the subscriber living at Broad Rock, near the 
City of Richmond and town of Manchester, on Friday eve- 
ning the 7th instant, a mulatto girl by the name of Nancy be- 
tween 17 and 18 . . . has been brought up to the house 
business, is a good sempstress, can knit, and understands 
the marking very well by a sampler.''* 

Young girls of families that could afford it usually received some 
type of formal education outside the home (fig. 9). Starting as ear- 
ly as three years old, a girl might attend a dame school or classes 
taught by a woman in her home. There she learned elementary 
reading, simple arithmetic, and plain sewing by working a simple 
sampler.' 5 Contrary to popular belief, almost all samplers were 
made under a teacher's instruction. As one modern-day scholar has 
expressed, "Samplers were an adult woman's art executed by a 
child's hand."'6 From a dame school, some girls moved on to a 
boarding school or home where they would encounter more 
specialized teachers and advanced needlework instruction. In 1752, 
for example, John Walker advertised in the Virginia Gazette that his 
wife taught "young ladies all kinds of needle work," and in 1776 
Mrs. Neill proposed opening a boarding school "on the same plan 
of the English schools" for young ladies in 'Williamsburg to instruct 
them in "reading, tambours, and other kinds of needle work ... As 
nothing tends more to the Improvement of a Country than proper 
Schools for the Education of both Sexes."''' 

Not only did a distinct American form of sampler appear during 
the eighteenth century, but regional styles and characteristics devel- 
oped in American needlework (figs. 10 and 11) just as they did in 


Figure 9. "The Schoolmistress 
23 5/8" X 19". Ace. 1975-126. 

hatid-eolored mezzotint. London. 1804. 

November, 1990 


Figure 10. Sampler, silk on linen, by Mary Starker, Newbury, Massachusetts, 1760. 
24 1/4 " X 16 1/2 ". Ace. 1961-57. The pastoral and hunting scene depicted is typi- 
cal of samplers and canvas work from the Newbury area. 

American furniture. Schoolmistresses with their own unique pat- 
terns and techniques established spheres of influence throughout 
the colonies.'^ The trend during the period was toward a much 
freer, more original sampler with considerable variety in design and 
technique. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century, regional 
characteristics emerge in Virginia schoolgirl embroideries, distin- 
guishing them from embroideries made in other areas of North 



America. These Virginia embroideries vary significantly among 
themselves. At present thirteen groups, two from the eighteenth 
century and eleven from the nineteenth, of embroideries have been 
isolated, each with distinguishing characteristics that reflect the in- 
fluence of one teacher or school (see Appendix l).'^ 

Figure 11. Sampler, silk on linen, by Mary Welsh. Boston. r~2. 22 1/2 " X 16 1/2 ". 
Ace. 1962-309. Mary's sister. Grace, worked a similar sampler in H'^-i. 

November, 1990 


jff.'fe ■•■■:.;.'^S8S!' 

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Figure 12. Sampler, silk on linen, by Mary Willis Ambler probably York County, 
mid-l7''0s. 10 3/4 " X63/8 ". Courtesy of the Association for the Presentation of Vir- 
ginia Antiquities. Mary Ambler (1766-1831) was the daughter offacquelin and Re- 
becca Amblin of Yorktown. She married fohn Marshall in 1783 «"^ moved to 



Figure 12a The reverse of Mary Ambler's sampler illustrates the double-sided 
cross, seven-step cross, and Algerian eye stitches. 

November, 1990 


Although it is difficult to give a description or set of guidelines for 
identifying a generic Virginia schoolgirl embroidery, a few gener- 
al statements can be made. Besides the Virginia names and locations 
worked into these embroideries, they usually are rather plain and 
are less decorative than their northern counterparts. However, 
many show a remarkable degree of "neatness;" their backsides are 
almost mirror images of the fronts, especially on those made in 
eastern Virginia. Interestingly, this concern for craftsmanship is 
paralleled in eastern Virginia furniture, which is characterized by its 
"neat and plain" style with more attention to construction tech- 
niques than to carved ornamentation. ^^ 

Virginia samplers are similar in some respects to other American 
samplers. For example, many have survived in poor condition with 
missing embellishment threads and ground fabric. A few are merely 
fragments of their original appearance. The majority of identified 
Virginia work dates to the late eighteenth and first half of the 
nineteenth centuries; the same can be said about pieces made 
throughout the United States. With the establishment and main- 
tenance of more stable needlework schools and teachers in the 
nineteenth century, obviously more embroideries were stitched 
and therefore more have survived. However, at the time that north- 
ern samplers began diverging from English styles and developing 
their own regional characteristics, some Virginia embroiderers, par- 
ticularly those from eastern Virginia, adhered to the popular 
stitches and designs seen in English needlework. A number of the 
early Virginia embroideries bear close similarities to English pieces, 
and some actually have been mistaken for English work until fur- 
ther research was completed. Only the needleworkers' biographical 
information worked into some of these examples firmly documents 
them as Virginian and not English. There are probably more early 
Virginia pieces that have been identified incorrectly. 

Reversible stitches such as the seven-step cross stitch (figs. 12 and 
12a) and the double-sided cross stitch are common on both English 
and Virginia pieces, as are the combination of crowns, coronets, 
and figures of Adam and Eve. Other stitches consistently found in 

Figure 13- (Right.) Detail of wave motif on the statue commemorating Norborne 
Berkeley. Baron de Botetourt, royal governor of Virginia, who died in HIO. 
Courtesy of the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg. This statue was on 
public view in Williamsburg by H'^j and its designs may have influenced Virginia 


November, 1990 


Virginia work are the Irish, eyelet, and rice.^i Favorite motifs appear- 
ing on eighteenth- and nineteenth- century samplers made through- 
out Virginia include the wave, Greek key hearts, birds, crowns, and 
coronets. Some sampler designs such as the wave and running dog 
are found on other decorative art forms including silver, ceramics, 
and furniture, as well as in architecture (fig. 13). One popular nine- 
teenth-century format is the square sampler with a decorative bor- 
der on four sides enclosing alphabets, numerals, and verses. The 
lower half of the sampler consists of a decorative scene, usually a 
centered house flanked by trees, birds, and other motifs. Sometimes 
the windows of the houses are open halfway" 

Figure 14. Sampler, silk on linen, by Mary Johnson, West Point area, 1742. 103/4" 
X9". Ace. 1987-716. 




,?r?r*,>^ » 


''■■■' :;)4*^^^' 




-ws.dLiXw ^- . ■ ft 


j0!W)fV*>*';*''' • 



Figures 14a. and Mb. Details of the front and back of Mary Johnson's sampler 
showing the use of Irish and reversible stitches and the crown motif. 

The earliest known Virginia sampler (fig. 14) was made in the 
West Point area in 1742 by Mary Johnson. ^^ At first glance, this sam- 
pler of alphabets, numbers, and verses appears rather plain and 
unimportant. However, a closer inspection reveals a combination 
of certain techniques and motifs (figs. 14a and b) that typify Virginia 

November, 1990 


needlework. Mary worked her sampler in a variety of reversible 
stitches, mainly the seven-step (fig. 15), also known as the brave 
bred, true marking, two-sided cross stitch, and marking stitch. ^'^ 
Other stitches and designs seen here that are characteristic of Vir- 
ginia pieces are the Irish stitch and the presence of crowns. 


Figure 15. Seven-step reversible cross stitch, also known as the brave-bred, true- 
marking, two-sided cross, and marking stitch. line drawing by susan cooper 

The same combination of motifs and techniques appears in an 
unfinished Isle of Wight County sampler (fig. l6) made by Sellah 
Fulgham in 1761. All stitches are so neatly executed that its back 
mirrors its front. The use of the Irish stitch and reversible cross and 
the inclusion of crowns, stars, and hearts are characteristic of Vir- 
ginia samplers. Sellah's signature line is a variation of a popular 
English line and reads: "Sellah Fulgham is My Name Virginia is / My 
Nation the Isle White My Dwelling Place / And Christ My Salvation 
May the 20th / 1761 Worked this Samplar" (fig. l6a). 

An important early group of samplers containing many of these 
same characteristics was made in the Williamsburg area in the last 
decade of the eighteenth century (see Appendix 1). Ann Pasteur 
Maupin, aged ten in 1791, stitched her sampler (fig. 17) on a thin 
linen ground of 39 by 32 threads per inch, using all reversible 
stitches. Ann lived in Williamsburg with her parents, Gabriel and 
Dorcas Maupin. A closely related sampler was worked by Sarah 
Walker Waller (fig. 18) with a similar fine linen ground and silk em- 
bellishment threads. Sarah was the daughter of Judith Page and 
John Waller of Spotsylvania and King William counties; her aunt, 
Catharine Page Waller, was married to Benjamin Waller of Williams- 
burg, and it is possible that Sarah lived in Williamsburg while she 
stitched her sampler. Both samplers depict identical tall, slender 
bushes and Adam and Eve with the serpent at the tree. They both 

Figure 16. (Right.) Sampler silk on linen, by Sellah Fulgham, Isle of Wight County. 
r61. 17 1/8 " X 8 7/8 ". Ace G1988-460. 



November, 1990 



Figure 16a. Detail ofSellah Fulgham 's sampler. 

have the wave motif, crowns, and hearts, and even upper case let- 
ters created with silk embellishment threads of different colors. A 
fragment of a third sampler (fig. 19) with these characteristics re- 
cently was given to Colonial Williamsburg. Unfortunately, its bot- 
tom third, where the signature line and date would have been 
worked, is missing. However, its close similarities to the two de- 
scribed previously and its Williamsburg family history leave no 
doubt that it was made under the same influence. A fourth sam- 
pler related to these three has yet to be located. An entry in Bolton 
and Coe's 1921 publication, American Samplers, described a Wil- 
liamsburg sampler made by Sarah Hornsby about 1793 with ele- 
ments identical to the others: very fine cross stitch, tree of life, 
Adam and Eve, serpent, detached figures such as birds, trees, castles, 
baskets of flowers, and a verse identical to that of Ann Maupin's 
sampler: "Oh Heavenly Virtue Thine A Sacred Flame / And still My 
Soul Pays Homage To Thy Name."" Sarah Hornsby presumably 
worked her sampler with the same schoolmistress that taught Ann 
Pasteur Maupin, Sarah Walker Waller, and the unidentified maker of 
that illustrated in figure 19. 



\2 -^'^ Un 

Figure 17. Sampler, silk on linen, by Ann Pasleur Mciupln. Williamsburg. n9l 16' 
X 11 IAS". Ace 1<)H1-161. 

November, 1990 


Figure 18. Sampler, silk on linen, by Sarah Walker Waller probably Williamsburg, 
c. 1791. 18 3/8" X 17". Courtesy of Ibe Clarke County Historical Association. 

Very few Virginia samplers and needlework pictures were made 
on locally-woven ground fabrics. Most were worked in silk embel- 
lishment or embroidery threads on a natural-color linen ground 
fabric. These were the typical materials used in America from the 
seventeenth century to well into the nineteenth. The silk and linen 
were imported from Europe through England and sold at local Vir- 
ginia stores. Other materials seen in Virginia schoolgirl embroider- 
ies include cotton, silk and wool grounds, wool embellishment 
threads, human hair, mica, sequins, beads, padding of faces, paper 
cutouts, and watercolors on silk. An 1808 Nansemond County sam- 
pler (fig. 20) by Esther Shivers is on a dark linen ground (see Appen- 
dix 1). At the age of fifteen Esther not only worked her sampler on 
an unusual ground, but she also used a variety of complicated 
stitches including herringbone, queen, and reversible cross stitch. 



i^s-, -■-^•v^ ,-Kj^^.^^^jsi -.'"!^.M.^v^^r%y«"-'i-wv» '>.'»«'•» -'■itii^^i^j' ,e^fyi^ 

Figure 19- Sampler fragment, silk on linen, unidentified maker probably Wil- 
liamsburg, c. 1791. 10 3/4" X 10 1/8". Ace. G1990-94. 

One prominent group of samplers can be identified by their un- 
common ground fabric. Jannet Nimmo of the Norfolk area and 
Catherine Bett, probably of Norfolk, worked their samplers (figs. 21 
and 22) in 1812 and 1825, respectively, on a thin glazed worsted 
wool woven in a plain weave, sometimes referred to as tammy (see 
Appendix 1). This type of ground is common to English samplers 
but is rarely documented on American pieces. The ground fabric is 
not the only unusual material utilized in the samplers. Jannet used 
a bead for the peacock's eye, and both girls worked the tree trunks 
in silk chenille threads which give them a soft, velvety pile (fig. 
22a). Chenille refers to round, furry threads, and actually is the 
French word for caterpillar.'*' It was being imported to Virginia as 
early as 1772 by Mrs. Rathell, a Williamsburg shopkeeper. She wrote 

November, 1990 


f^slhtr cfhwcrss ^Nor^ JunC/d78Q8J< 

l4BCMFGm^LlI0P^RSTUV W 1 y2 X / i 

|aJbcdcr9h5kl.wT^opc^K^LuLvuAXX2<-/23'td<f 7*8^4 



B^^'\ss\r^w^m£^m^ * 


Do;y-oum;K Fair 

A5- 6r^SS 

Figure 20. Sampler, silk on linen, by Esther Shivers, Nansemond County, 1808. 26" 
X 163/4". Private collection. The dark ground is unusual for Virginia work. 




Figure 21. Sampler, silk and silk chenille on worsted; linen tape and bead, hy Janet 
Nitnmo. Princess Anne County. 1812. 14 3/8" X 21 5/8". Ace 1989-365. 

to John Norton in England on 22 July 1772: "I am in Much distress 
for them, the undernaith Articles without fail ... 3 Dozn Bunches 
of Pink Shenell & 3 Dozn Do of Blue Sheneele & No Other Cou- 
lars."" These samplers, with their similar materials, composition, 
frame, stretcher, and melancholy verse flanked by Neo- 
classical swags, were certainly worked under the tutelage of the 
same unidentified teacher: 

Disease and pain invade our health 

And find an easy prey 

And Oft when least expected, wealth 

Take Wings and flies away 

The gourds from which we look for fruit 

Produce us only pain, 

A worm unseen attacks the root 

And all our hopes are vain. 

Although alphabet and decorative samplers such as Catherine 
Bett's and Jannet Nimmo's make up the majority of surviving Vir- 
ginia samplers, other types have been documented, including those 
commemorating betrothals or weddings, family record samplers, 
and memorial samplers. One type that is found farther north and in 
England but has yet to be uncovered in Virginia is the map sampler. 

November, 1990 


Figure 22. Sampler, silk and silk chenille on worsted; cotton tape, by Catherine 
Belt, probably Norfolk area. 1825. 14 5/8" X 25 5/8". Ace 1990-21. 

Figure 22a. Detail of Catherine Belt's sampler showing the use of silk chenille 
threads in the tree trunks. 



However, an 1810 advertisement in the Alexandria Gazette suggests 
that Virginia girls were making them. Mrs. Edmonds advertised that 
she taught "embroidery in chenilles, gold, silver and silk" as well as 
"Maps wrought in do."^^ 

The family register, or family record, sampler that appeared in 
Virginia after 1790 reflected the changes that were taking place in 
family life. During this period families became more nuclear and 
cohesive with the happiness and well-being of family life as the fo- 
cus providing the emotional and economic support that earlier in 
the century had been supplied by the larger community and pub- 
lic sphere. 2*^ Family record samplers included stitched genealogical 
charts with information such as the birth, marriage, and death dates 
of the needleworker's parents, brothers, sisters, and occasionally 
other family members or friends. By the second decade of the 
nineteenth century, such records often were combined as memori- 
als for deceased family members (figs. 23 and 24). 



h eeriifted ftie iiie a:i \i-f. i^c.i- .iiai'4 ■?• William 5. .Waritig u- 

fi ?t>fte2;^%e.^ro{tef a^i?..., .%TOa,rv Batiks wtre- m-ir 

H ms SUzabt-lb Waring,.,-,,.,, ,-.*•.';> tnscl %" Tfce .f0i3i-1,-. < 


»» ter.-cM-i-ow for fcer esri j,- doom -'-.S Martba Am* V^arimg P 

''i^^fl aomotv :t. ->-,te-flee s,^, .....,..: ,'J, C*rb*rir>.- S'^AU-n^h 

%i ^or hope wh.oh noinf.s b^^jorjd ti\s roTmb..'^% Roberr 3P WAritt^. ..-.^ 
*'^ ^.d '■ every teair b** drv. .....;.: *^ vA 

n ' 

}^ Who-n *? Its-vote out icj.iit, ro f»:.i ^!> ilo*€r rhaf'f yixtt 'A lu Bit sj 



,^v" ft 

^(? ^ 

1 ' 'Hi 

Figure 23- Family register sampler ctttril)iiteil tu Miirtha Ann Wconig. t'sse.x 
County, c. 1824. 16 15/16" X 17 7/16". Ace. G1986-126. The upper portion of this 
piece consists of a poem dedicated to Mrs. Elizabeth Waring. Martha 's mother who 
died in 1814, and a family record that lists the second marriage of Martha s father 
in the same year The poem reads: "Let sorrow for her early doom/ No more in 
silence sigh/ For hope which points beyond the tomb/ Bids every tear be dry." 

November, 1990 


Figure 24. This brooch (n. d.) in the form of a daguerrotype of Martha Ann War- 
ing descended in the Waringfamilv along with the sampler 1 7/8 " X 1 1/2 ". Ace 
Gl 986- 12 7. 

Three memorial samplers from the Smithfield, Virginia, area 
worked by sisters and stepsisters record the deaths of their parents 
and include family initials (see Appendix 1). In 1829 Martha Delk 
was the first to work her sampler. It commemorated the death of 
her father, Wiley Delk, who had died in 1820. Five years later, in 
1834, her sister. Unity A. Delk (fig. 25), and her stepsister, Elizabeth 


M. Cofer (fig. 26), completed similar pieces, although Elizabeth's 
sampler honored the death of her mother, Jerusha Cofer, who had 
died in 1823. After the death of Elizabeth's mother, her father, 
Joseph Cofer, married Martha and Unity's mother, Patsey Delk, 
bringing the three girls together. ^^ Another sampler dedicated to a 
deceased family member was made in 1828 by Margaret Kerr of Au- 
gusta County (fig. 27) in memory of her brother, Bailey Kerr, who 

Figure 25. Sampler, silk on linen, by Unity A. Delk. Smithfield area. 1834. 20 1/2" 
X 17 1/4 ". Private collection. Mount Pleasant, worked over the house, may refer 
to the Cocke family bouse still standing on the fames River in Surry County 

November, 1990 


Figure 26. Sampler, silk on linen, by Elizabeth M. Cofer. Smithfield area, 1834. 
20 7/8" X 17 1/2". Ace. G1988-461. This sampler commemorates the death of 
Elizabeth's mother in 1834; the "Arcade No. 3," stitched over the house in thepiece 
has not been identified. 




On & for\d brotl^r^ love 

Tom f rotn *ach oth<5r^ arm^ Iw^lomtf 

Ma^ rvc both •oi^<?t aboY*:? 

St i^ our fate bt u^ ^abmrjit 

Ho hclpiXt^ h2ind is mwjar 

AldiS a» help com^s^ norn too latd 

A<iieu acc^spt a t<?ar.,. • ^o^o , 

Figure 27. Sampler: silk on linen with paper and hair, by Margaret Kerr Augusta 
County, 1828. 12 3/4" X 9 y8". Ace. 1989-112. This sampler mourns the death of 
Margaret 5 brother in 1823 and acknowledges her marriage to Elijah Hogshead. 

November, 1990 


had died in 1823. Incorporated into tiie sampler are human hair and 
a paper silhouette of Bailey. The poem reads: 

A Tear 

The only gift I can bestow 

On a fond brothers love 

Torn from each others arms below 

May we both meet above 

It is our fate let us submit 

No helping hand is near 

Alas all help comes now too late 

Adieu accept a tear. 

Figure 28. Needlework picture, silk on silk and linen with mica, sequins, padding, 
and paint, by Mary Abney. probably Rockbridge County. 1802. 17" X 15 3/4". Ace 



Some Virginia schoolgirls worked more elaborate embroidered 
pictures. One silk-on-silk needlework picture (fig. 28) by Mary Ab- 
ney probably stitched in Rockbridge County about 1802, is the 
type of work a girl would attempt after having mastered the needle 
by working one or perhaps several samplers (see Appendix 1). This 
picture is one of the few Virginia pieces that has everything — pad- 
ded faces, painted sky paillettes (better known as sequins) in the 
border, and mica in the windows (fig. 28a). Entitled "Palemon and 
Lavinia," it is taken from James Thomson's long poem, The Seasons, 
published in England during the first half of the eighteenth centu- 
ry^' Thomson's fable was inspired by the Old Testament Book of 
Ruth and is a romanticized version of the story of Boaz and Ruth. 

Figure 28a. Detail of Mary Ahuey's picture showing the mica in the window: 

November, 1990 


Figure 29- Elizabeth Boush, oil on canvas, by John Durand. Norfolk, 1769- 30 " X 
25 1/2". Ace. 1982-271. Elizabeth was sixteen years old at the time of this painting. 

Old Testament subjects were popular with American schoolgirls 
during the eighteenth century. At the age of sixteen, Elizabeth 
Boush (fig. 29) of Norfolk worked her picture of the "Sacrifice of 
Isaac" in silk petit point on a silk ground of 38 to 40 threads per 
inch (fig. 30). Her picture was probably derived from a block print 
in the Thesaurus Sacrarum Historiarum Veteris Testament, pub- 
lished by Gerard de Jode in Antwerp in 1585.^^ According to the 
embroidered inscription beneath the picture, Elizabeth worked her 
piece at "E. Gardners" in 1768 and 1769. "E. Gardners" refers to 
Elizabeth Gardner Armston, who advertised her Norfolk school in 
the Virginia Gazette from 1766 until 1772: 



The subscriber begs leave to inform tiie publick tiiat she has 
taken a house in Norfolk bourough, for the accommodating 
young Ladies as boarders; where are taught the following 
things, viz. Embroidery, tent work . . . queenstitch, Irish do. 
and all kinds or shading . . . and Shell work . . . and artificial 
flowers. -^^ 

This picture is the earliest known American needlework to iden- 
tify^ its school of origin and is still one of the few southern embroid- 
eries known to have been made at a specific school.'*'* 

Teachers, professional painters, framers, and embroiderers im- 
ported English prints, paintings, and drawings and offered them for 
sale and rent as suitable design sources for needlework pictures. 
Some even provided their own original drawings at a lower price. 
These "originals" often were later copies of English prints and 
drawings and generally were simpler renditions, many with dis- 
tinctly American additions such as eagles. ^^ A few schoolgirls may 
have designed their own pictures. Many sources were available: im- 
ported fabrics from Italy and the Orient, reissues of old pattern 
books, books with engravings, and tradesmen's manuals. Eew of 
these books have survived, for most were ruined by the practice of 
pricking and pouncing the pages, which was necessary for transfer- 
ring the patterns onto fabric. Occasionally teachers used English 
patterns created specifically for white work. Mrs. Tennant of Nor- 
folk advertised in 1796 that "to enable her to teach from the most 
approved methods, as in Britian, she has procured at a very great 
expense a large and general Assortment of Stamps, of the most 
fashionable patterns." ^'^^ These stamps produced systematic designs 
and configurations rather than pictures, however. 

Unfortunately for students of Virginia needlework, most sam- 
plers and needlework pictures do not identify where the piece was 
made or under whose instruction. Eighteenth- and nineteenth- cen- 
tury newspaper advertisements, insurance records, guardian books, 
and other contemporary documents indicate that there were 
numerous schools and teachers for female education and the nee- 
dle arts (see Appendix 2). One 1786 advertisement for a Henrico 
County boarding school is of special interest because it compares 
the education of girls and boys: "The Girls on Saturdays will be 
taught plain Needle work, and the Duties incumbent on Mistress- 
es of Families. No other Difference will be made between the Edu- 
cation of Boys and Girls, except the Girls will not be taught 
Mathematics."^^ Many teachers advertised themselves as being "just 

November, 1990 67 



from England" or as "teaching in the English style." It is evident 
from the records that many of the teachers relocated frequently, 
traveling from one Virginia city to another and spreading their own 
distinct styles of needlework. In 1795 Mrs. Bell advertised in Alex- 
andria as being from Charleston. In 1797 she had moved to Norfolk 
and in 1799 she was in Richmond, once again advertising as being 
from Charleston (see Appendix 2). 

One group of Virginia samplers that cannot be assigned to a 
specific school or region is characterized by Quaker alphabets and 
motifs. Quaker women teaching up and down the east coast used 
a particular style of lettering and motifs that originated at the 
Friend's School in Ackworth and York, England. The Quaker al- 
phabet is distinct in its size and boldness, and typical Quaker mo- 
tifs usually worked in cross stitches included pairs of birds, wreaths, 
sprays of roses, and medallions. ^^ Sarah Bruce Butt s 18II sampler 
(fig. 31) depicts subtle but recognizable Quaker motifs such as lilies 
of the valley, sprays of flowers, and a geometric medallion enclos- 
ing a bird and vine (see Appendix 1). Sarah was the daughter of 
Nathaniel and Frances Butt of old Lower Norfolk County. 

Occasionally a Virginia piece does indicate where it was made 
and or under whose instruction. One example is a rather fragile 
sampler (fig. 32) made in Rockbridge County in 1819. Although the 
maker did not include her own name, she did stitch the following: 
"Female Academy Lexington March 28th 1819" That academy, also 
known as the Ann Smith Academy, opened in 1807. Named for its 
first principal, Miss Ann Smith, the Presbyterian academy operated 
as a private institution until 1908 when it became the property of 
the town of Lexington. ^^ Another sampler (fig. 33) worked in Ports- 
mouth in 1837 gives insight into the influence of one schoolteacher 
and her relationship with her student. E. Lee worked into her sam- 
pler a brief commemoration to her teacher: "Wrought by E. Lee for 
her affectionate teacher. Portsmouth Va July 24th 1837." Mary Tom- 
lin s sampler (fig. 34) not only gives its maker s name and age, but 
includes her parents' names, John W. and Margaret W. Tomlin; her 
home, Clifton, in Hanover County; and where she made the piece. 

Figure 30. (Left.) Needlework picture, silk on silk, by Elizabeth Boush. Norfolk, 
1768-69. 19 1/2" X 11 1/2". MESDA Research File S-622-i. ace 284''. 

November, 1990 69 

Figure 31. Sampler, silk on linen, by Sarah Bruce Butt, old Lower Norfolk County, 
1811. 24 1/4 " X 163/8". Ace. 1989-34. Although Sarah's lettering is not as bold and 
distinct as typical Quaker alphabets, her motifs worked in cross stitch at the bot- 
tom of the sampler are Quaker in style. Subtle Quaker characteristics such as these 
are seen in a number of Virginia samplers. 



Greenwood Seminary, as well. Unfortunately, Greenwood Semi- 
nary has not been located. It is believed to have been in Hanover 
County, but it could have been in a neighboring county (see Appen- 
dix 1). Mary's verse is a popular one found on other American and 
Virginia samplers: 

Religion is the chief concern 

Of mortals here below 

May I its great importance learn 

Its sovereign virtue know 

Religion should our thoughts engage 

Amidst our youthful bloom 

Twill fit us for declining age 

And for the awful tomb. 



/^ "d *l<i SMr ♦<".'** xto*^ 






Figure 32. Sampler, silk on linen, unidentified maker Lexington Female Academy. 
Lexington, 1819. 16 1/8" X r 1/2 ". Ace G 1984-1 49. 

November, 1990 



'■If ■^^^^g*'^*" •«*» ^^ feo»t*tKat *p*r« »h« i«iou.*tA« n4>t 

clCe that, hofci^ fa^t the goWei. »«a« ^ ^^^ ^^^ ^wY^Kce dhrJde 
O'W liws- coi>t*«(^y fcretw*** <>i»-i ^pea^aKi th* rwM 

V he Sttte and gr*«t 
^I^ «ot the *«»t* tKtt p«<h th. peor ^^^ent JWe*st.g- uai^rvaW 

cJrobiwnTig aH his- ta*te 
y he t-aJtest ph»«s- leef nw^t th* po»u"r , 

Of wastry bust i the toftteft to*f'r i^- j^ 

"^*ft* hetwiert to ^Iweroruudd' """'"■«' i ' 

l-Kimght tjr 6 £te «or hec *i»«ctJ«i^e teacher ^apt^mo«.y:i %a Ju.!y^4*** 

Figure 33- Unfinished sampler, silk on linen. E. Lee. Portsmouth, 1837. 16 1/2" X 
18". Ace. G 1988-477. 

Reading and researching poignant sampler inscriptions such as 
this conjures up images of the needleworkers and their teachers, for 
these verses reveal something of their characters and convey per- 
sonal values. Religious and pious verses were an integral part of the 
sampler and appear in Virginia work as early as 1742, mostly due to 
the religious discussions and thoughts that were part of everyday 
life and education during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 


One hundred and seven different verses have been recorded from 
Virginia samplers (see Appendix 3). Some of these same verses ap- 
pear up and down the east coast as well as in England i"*" many were 
taken from the popular published writings of men such as Alex- 
ander Pope and Isaac Watts. Reverend Watts, in particular, was a fa- 
vored English religious author best known for his children's hymns 
and verses.'*' The most prevalent verse (fig. 35) on samplers 
originating in Virginia and England was probably written by the 
Reverend John Newton: 

Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand 
As the first effort of an infant hand 
And while her fingers oer this canvass move 
Engage her tender heart to seek thy love 
With thy dear children let her share a part 
And write thy name thyself upon her heart. ''^ 

Jfoh ft W t^vsUii . Marf -ftTtft W To^^-fi .. C&f*o a . 


l^ ,Wj 


jbi.j> I K#«r«»» (wf"***** Inn 
|t» s^r^»f*e^ virtu* Icmm^ 



if 4 

Aird *0» «>» . A 


Figioi 1 i SciniplcK silk (1)1 linen, hy Mciry lonilin. Greenwood Scinnuii]. [imhciblv 
Hanoi et County, wr. 1" 1/8" X 16 ^8" (framed). Ace 1990-39. The open win- 
dows are a characteristic seen on other Virginia samplers. 

November, 1990 



if Ml 

I .1 ^ r 

' ' i¥*!Pf til!!': ' ' 


t>' . ^ I iiwu i M I > I. u 1 >l 

^ f 

#'iiir#:v:^/ fi"' i'K-W.iifP 

Figure 35. Detail of Elizabeth Cofer 's sampler (see fig. 26) depicting the verse most 
commonly found on Virginia samplers. 

The study of Virginia schoolgirl embroideries is an educational 
and rewarding experience. Discovering an unknown Virginia sam- 
pler or unearthing a new bit of information about an already 
known work is similar to assembling the pieces of a puzzle. 
Researching the schoolgirls and their teachers provides an insight 
into the lives of these eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women. 
Most significantly, the embroideries evoke the pride the girls must 
have felt in their accomplishments and their desire to be remem- 
bered as demonstrated by Eliza Woodrow's verse, "When this you 
see remember me / Though many miles apart. When I do see you 
once again / It will ease my troubled heart."^^ 



Group I. 

Sampler, Ann Pasteur Maupin (fig. 17) 
Silk on linen 
20 October 1791 
Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1981-161 

Sampler, Sarah Walker Waller (fig. 18) 

Silk on linen 

c. 1790 

Collection of the Clarke County Historical Society 

Sampler, Sarah Hornsby 

Silk on linen 

c. 1793 

Bolton and Coe, American Samplers. 

Sampler fragment, unknown maker (fig. 19) 

Silk on linen 

c. 1790 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. G1990-94. 

These four samplers are related to each other in the use of the same fine linen ground (ap- 
proximately 39 X 32 threads per inch) and embellishment threads, reversible cross stitches to 
create a neat backside, and detached figures such as Adam and Eve, serpent, tree of life, coro- 
nets, wave, tall slender bushes, hearts, castles, and baskets of flowers. Embellishment threads 
of different colors are used for capital letters of each word. Two share the identical verse (see; 
Appendix 3, verse 28). All have a Williamsburg connection. 

Group II. 

Sampler, Frances Ragsdale 

Silk on linen 


Collection of the Valentine Museum. 

Sampler, Mildred Ragsdale 

Silk on linen 


Private collection. 

Frances and Mildred Ragsdale were sisters from King William County Their simple alphabet 
samplers with family initials are almost identical in size, format, and materials. 

Group III. 

Unfinished sampler, Susan Riddick 

Silk on linen 

31 January 1806 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1978-91. 

Sampler, Esther Goodwin Shivers (fig. 20) 
Silk on linen 
15 June 1808 
Private collection. 

Sampler, Sarah Bruce Butt (fig. 31) 

Silk on linen 

18 June 1811 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1989-34. 

November, 1990 75 

Sampler, Elizabeth Mary Wise 

Silk on cotton 

c. 1820 

Private collection. 

All four of these samplers have been attributed to the Norfolk and Nansemond County area. 
Similar characteristics include the working of the cross stitch to resemble Irish stitch, use of 
queen stitch, pieced ground fabric, and Quaker alphabets and motifs. 

Group IV. 

Sampler, Mildred Malone 

Wool, silk, and paint on linen 

8 September I8I7 

Collection of the Valentine Museum. 

Sampler, Flora Virginia Holmes 

Wool, silk, and paint on linen 


Collection of the Valentine Museum. 

The unusual use of wool embellishment threads in the borders and the painted scenes in the 
center of these pieces suggests that they were worked under the same influence. They have 
been attributed to the Richmond area. 

Group V. 

Sampler, Mary Kennerly 

Silk on linen 


Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1987-687. 

Sampler, Susana S. Rees[e) 

Silk on linen 

c. I8I5 

Collection of the Lynchburg Museum System. 

Sampler, Martha Jane Whittenton 

Silk on linen 


Collection of the Lynchburg Museum System. 

Sampler, Ann Eliza Bailey 

Silk on linen? 

c. 1820 

Private collection. 

These four Lynchburg samplers are characterized by Quaker alphabets, double hearts and 
wave motifs, and the use of the Irish stitch. 

Group VI. 

Sampler, Mary Muir 

Silk on linen 

8 June I8I8 

Collection of the Lyceum, Alexandria. 

Sampler, Mary Harrison 

Silk on linen 

July 1830 

Collection of the National Museum of American History 

Mary Muir and Mary Harrison worked their Alexandria samplers in queen, cross, satin, and 
stem stitches. They share the same geometric strawberry border with an unusual building and 
tree in the center. Mary Muir may have been the daughter of Dr. James Muir who operated a 


school for female education in Alexandria (see Appendix 2). However, her birth date suggests 
that she was the daughter of a John Muir. 

Group VII. 

Sampler, Jannet Ninimo (fig, 21) 

Silk and silk chenille threads on tammy 


Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1989-365. 

Sampler, Catherine Bett (fig. 22) 

Silk and silk chenille threads on tammy 


Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1990-21. 

Jannet and Catherine worked their samplers 13 years apart using the identical tammy ground 
fabric and silk chenille embellishment threads. The stretcher technique, inner frame, and frame 
are also identical. They share the same verse (see Appendix 3, verse 6). 

Group VIII. 

Sampler, Mary W Tomlin (fig. 34) 

Silk on linen 


Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1990-39. 

Sampler, Mildred B. Chewning 

Silk on linen 


Collection of the Valentine Museum. 

Sampler, Sarah E. Reynolds 

Silk on linen 


Private collection. 

All three samplers have similar formats with the use of the Quaker alphabet, heavy strawber- 
ry and vine border, and half-open windows. Two share the same verse (see Appendix 3, verse 
45). Mildred B. Chewning and Sarah Reynolds worked their pieces under the tutelage of Lucy 
Mary Quisenberry Montague (see Appendix 2). The three samplers have been attributed to 
Hanover and Caroline Counties. 

Group IX. 

Sampler, Maker unknown 

Silk on linen 

c. 1828 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1988-501. 

Sampler, Eliza J. Spratley 

Silk on linen 


Private collection. 

Sampler, Lilias Blair McPhail 

Silk on linen 

c. 1828 

Collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

These three Norfolk samplers are characterized by densely worked water scenes, heavy wave 
bands, and bold floral borders. All three have the same verse (see Appendix 3, verse 24). 

Group X. 

Sampler, Virginia Ann Clark 
Silk on linen 

November, 1990 77 


Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1986-10. 

Sampler, unknown maker 

Silk on linen 

c. 1828 

Location unknown. 

These two Norfolk samplers share the same densely worked area at the bottom which 
includes a castle and verses (see Appendix 3, verses 26 and 53). 

Group XI. 

Sampler, Martha Delk 
Silk on linen 
21 May 1829 
Private collection. 

Sampler, Unity A(deline] Delk (fig. 25) 
Silk on linen 

5 September 1834 
Private collection. 

Sampler, Elizabeth M. Cofer 
Silk on linen 

6 September 1834 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. G1988-461. 

Martha, Unity, and Elizabeth were sisters and half sisters living in the Smithfield area. Their 
samplers commemorate the deaths of their father and mother and share the same ground fabric 
(approximately 28 x 29 threads per inch) and embellishment threads. Stitches include cross, 
rice, square cross, off-set Irish worked over six threads and back two. Half-open windows are 
in the three-story houses in the center of each piece. Two share the identical verse (see Appen- 
dix 3, verse 43). 

Group Xll. 

Sampler, Mahala Cline 

Silk on linen 


Location unknown. 

Sampler, Mary R. Sommers 
Silk on linen 
9 February 1844 
Private collection. 

Sampler, Eleanor Hankel 

Silk on linen 


Private collection. 

Sampler, Elizabeth Shirley 
Silk on linen 
9 April 1844 
Private collection. 

Related characteristics of these New Market samplers are their saw-tooth borders, bold vine 
borders, and house, fence, and tree. Other embroideries similar to these have been researched 
by Roddy Moore. 

Group XIll. 

Needlework picture, Drusilla De La Fayette Tate 

Silk, silk chenille, mica, sequins, padding, and paint on silk and linen ground 



Private collection 

Needlework picture, Mary Abney (fig. 28) 

Silk, silk chenille, mica, sequins, padding, and paint on silk and linen ground 

c. 1802 

Collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, ace. 1989-304. 

The subject, "Palemon and Lavinia," and the almost identical verse (see Appendix 3, verse 
36), materials, and stitches seen in these pictures strongly suggests that they were worked under 
the same influence. Both of these embroideries have been attributed to the Rockbridge County 
area where it is known that Drusilla lived as an adult. 



ADAMS, Mrs., Culpeper County. 1812. 

"Teaching fine Needle-work of every description . . . school . . . supplied with elegant patterns, 

and their work drawn at a moderate expense." [Virginia Herald, 23 Dec. 1812) 

Mr. ANDERSON'S ACADEMY/ CAMP, Mrs.. Lynchburg. Campbell County 1809- 

"FOR FEMALE EDUCATION . . . Mrs. Camp . . . sister of Mr. A. and guardian of the young 

ladies." (Enquirer, 5 Sept. 1809.) 

ANGERONE SEMINARY, Winchester. Frederick County 1835- 

"Assisted by Miss Henry and Miss Pole . . . Needlework." (Martinsburgh Gazette, 7 May 1835.) 

ANN SMITH ACADEMY, Lexington. Rockbridge County 1807-1908. 

"Useful and ornamental branches of female education." (Martinsburgh Gazette. 28 Oct. 1808.) 

"Engaged Mrs. SELINA NICKOLS to conduct the seminary." (Virginia Herald, 29 Oct. 1817 and 

William Pusey, The History of the Female Academy in Lexington, Virginia, Lexington, Va., 


Sampler, unknown maker, 1819 (fig. 32). 

ARMSTON, E., Point Pleasant. Norfolk. 1766-74';' 

"Better known by the Name of Gardner . . . School . PetitPoint . . Nuns Work, Embroidery 

in Silk, Gold, Silver, Pearls . . . Dresden . . . Catgut . . . after the newest Taste, and most elegant 

Pattern . . . other embellishments necessary for the Amusement of Persons of Fortune who 

have Taste." (Virginia Gazette 20 Feb. 1772.) 

See E. Gardner 

ARMSTRONG. Elizabeth. Shepherdstown. 1810. 

"SCHOOL . . . Plain Sewing, marking. Tambour, and all kinds of Needle Work and Embroidery." 

(Hagers-Town Gazette, 6 Feb. 1810.) 

BAKER, Mrs., Dinwiddle County, 18l6. 

"SCHOOL . . . ordinary needlework." (Petersburg Republican, 20 Sept. 1816.) 

BANKS, Mrs., Fredericksburg. 1809-10. 

"School ... all kind of Needle work." (Virginia Herald, 1 Dec. 1810.) 

BANKS, Mrs. Elizabeth, Petersburg. 1816. 

"SCHOOL . . . Needle Work." (Republican, 9 Jan. 1816.) 

"THE BANNISTER HOME," Sussex County early nineteenth century. 

(Stephenson, Mary A., Old Homes in Surry and Sussex.) 

November, 1990 79 

BARRON, Mrs., A'or/o//fe, 1810-20. 

"Seminary . . . Needle Work . . . plain Needle work and marking'.' 

(American Beacon and Norfolk & Portsmouth Daily Advertiser, 17 Dec. 1818.) "Seminary . . . 
plain and ornamental Needle-work." (Ibid., 24 Oct. 1819.) "MRS. RUSSELL . . . engaged to at- 
tend Mrs. Barron's Seminary." {Norfolk Herald, 23 Oct. 1820 and American Beacon and Nor- 
folk & Portsmouth Daily Advertiser, 24 Oct. 1819.) "Mrs. Barron and Mrs. Russell having united 
their Establishments . . . Worsted and Rug Work, Embroidery . . . Sampler Work and Plain Sew- 
ing." (Ibid., 28 Dec. 1820.) 

BELFIELD FEMALE ACADEMY, Greenville County 1810. 

"Embroidery, Tambouring, and all sorts of Needlework." (Petersburg Intelligencer, 13 Nov. 


BELL, Mrs., Alexandria, 1795 (from Charleston). 

"SCHOOL . . . Plain Work, Marking, Open Work and Embroidery." (Columbian Mirror and 

Alexandria Gazette, 4 July 1795) 

BELL, Mrs., Norfolk, 1797. 

"SCHOOL . . . Plain Sewing, Marking, Open work, and Embroidery." (Norfolk Herald & Public 

Advertiser, 9 Stpi. 1797) 

BELL, Mrs., Richmond, 1799 (from Charleston). 

"Boarding School . . . Plain Work, Marking, Open Work and Embroidery — also the first Ru- 
diments of Drawing, such as Vines or Flowers." (Virginia Argus. 6 Dec. 1799.) 

BERAULD, Mrs., Norfolk, 1799. 

"SCHOOL . . . every kind of Needlework, Embroidery shadowed . . . Flowers, Drawing." (Nor- 
folk Herald, 3 Dec. 1799.) 

BOBBIT, Mrs./ LAWRENCEVILLE ACADEMY, Brunswick County 1820 (from Louisburg N. C). 

"Together with Embroidery." (Petersburg Republican, 13 Oct. 1820.) 

BOSWORTH, Miss A., Petersburg, 1819. 

"[Jonathan Smith] engaged Miss A. BOSWORTH . . . various branches of education usually 

taught in female seminaries . . . plain and ornamental needle work." (Ibid., 24 Dec. 1819) 

See Petersburg Female Academy 

BOWLES, Mrs., Pomwowf/b, 1819. 

"Seminary . . . useful and ornamental Needle Work." (American Beacon and Norfolk & Ports- 
mouth Daily Advertiser, 8 Feb. 1819.) 

BOYLES, Mrs., Norfolk, 1816. 

"Seminary . . . Plain Sewing and Marking, Tambour, Netting." (American Beacon and Commer- 
cial Diary 2 Feb. 1816.) 

BROOKS, Mrs., Norfolk. 1816. 

"WAX WORK . . . School . . . Basket and other Fancy Work." (Ibid., 27 Nov 1816.) 

BUTLER, Miss, Portsmouth. 18r. 

"School . . . Needlework . . . Plain Sewing." (American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 24 July 


BYRD, Mrs. Anna/ THE RICHMOND ACADEMY Richmond. 1807. 
"Needle-work." (Enquirer, 29 Jan. 1807) 

CAMP Mrs./ Mr. ANDERSON'S ACADEMY, Lynchburg. 1809. 

"MR. ANDERSON'S ACADEMY FOR EDUCATION . . . Mrs. Camp . . . guardian of the young 

ladies." (Ibid., 5 Sept. 1809) 

CAMP, Mrs., Richmond. 1810. 1818. 

Opened an institution with Mr Anderson: "Miscellaneous subjects, that are either essential or 

highly ornamental in polite Education." (Ibid., 14 Aug. 1810.) "Mrs. Camp take charge of the 

domestic circle. " (Richmond Enquirer, "^ Apr 1818.) 


CAMPBELL, Mrs., Fredericksburg. ISiP. 

"SCHOOL . , . plain and ornamental Needle Work, Tambouring, Embroidery." [Virginia Her- 
ald, 21 "^ow. 1807.) 

CAMPBELL, Mrs. James? Petersburg, 1813 (from Europe). 
"Embroidery . . . assisted by her two daughters . . . Academy. ' (Republican. 8Jan. 1813.) 

CHANDLER, Miss, Manchester 18(W. 

"MANCHESTER FEMALE ACADEMY . . . elegant Needle-Wori<." Miss Chandler was educated 

by Mrs. O'Reilly {Enquirer, 7 Feb. 1809.) 

CHARLES TOWN ACADEMY, Charles T(nni. (West) Virginia. 1811. 

"The subscriber [B. R. Saunders] has also engaged a lady to instruct young ladies in needle 

work." (Farmer's Repository, 4 Oct. 1811.) 

CLARK, Miss Anne, Petersburg. 1820. 

"Petersburg Female Academy . . (Jonathan Smith] engaged MISS ANN CLARK as instruc- 
tress." (Petersburg Republican, 29 Dec. 1820.) 
See Petersburg Female Academy 

County, early nineteenth century. 

(MESDA Research Files and Herbert Clarence Bradshaw, History oj Prince Edward County.) 
Mrs. Cowardine also taught at the Pridesville Female Seminary in Amelia County (Richmond 
Enquirer, 10 Dec. 1815.) 
Sampler, Mary Calloway White', 1834. 

CROUCH, Mary B., Richmond. 181'. 

"School . . . marking and needle work." (Daily Compiler, 10 Jan. 1817) 

CUNNINGHAM, Rachel, Isle of Wight County 1816. 

"Seminary . . . Needle-Work'' (American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 30 Dec. 1816.) 

Sampler, Virginia Ann Godwin, undated. 

DAVIDS, M., Norfolk. r88. 

"Also young Misses plain Sewing and Marking." (Norfolk and Portsmouth Journal. 13 Feb. 


DAVIS, Miss, Richmond and .Manchester 1818. 

"DAY SCHOOL . . . Embroidery Tambour Work, plain and ornamental needle work." (Daily 

Compiler, 1 June 1818.) 

DEANE, Mary B., Lynchburg, 1814. 

"School . . . Needlework . . . Artificial Work . WAX WORK." (Lynchburg Press, 1 Dec. 1814.) 

DE GRUCHY, Mrs., Richmond. ISF (from London). 

"Academy . . . Muslin work with all the different Lace stitches, the making of fringe, the netting 

of Purses, with all the different kinds of fancy works." (Richmcmd Commercial Compiler, 7 June 


DERIEUX, Mrs., Richmond. 181'. 

"ACADEMY . . . plain needlework . . . Embroidery of silk or satin, with chenille, silk, silver or 

gold thread." (Daily Compiler, 2" Dec. 1817) 

DOWNIE, Mrs. S., Richmond. 18(J5 (Jrom London). 

"SCHOOL . . . Plain Work . . . Embroidery Philligree . . . Fancy work." (Virginia Gazette and 

General Advertiser, 30 Mar 180S.) 

DUKE, Mrs., Williamsburg. PW-^O. 

"Teach NEEDLEWORK in the neatest manner" "Will take in NEEDLEVl'ORK, and teach chil- 
dren." (Virginia Gazette, 21 Sept. 1"'69 and 29 Nov. 1770.) 

DUNLAP, Maria Anne, Alexandria. 1810. 

"School . . . Embroidery Tambour, Marking, Working maps, plain work, &c." (Alexandria 

Daily Gazette Commercial & Political, 2 Oct. 1810.) 

November, 1990 81 

EDMONDS, Mrs., Alexandria. 1810. 

"School . . . Embroidery in cheniles, gold, silver and silk. Maps wrought in do." (Alexandria 

Daily Gazette, 6 M^r. 1810.) 

EDMONDS, Mrs., Norfolk. 1818. 

"Plain and Ornamental Needlework." (American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 23 Feb. 1818.) 

ELLET, Miss Jennie? Richmond, early nineteenth century. 

St. Catherine's School (Valentine Museum Research Files.) Sampler, Elizabeth Ellet, early 

nineteenth century 

ELLZEY, Mrs. R., Loudon County 1818. 

Mrs. Ellzay opens school for young ladie.s, with assistance of Riley "a young lady of very 

polished manners" in needlework. 

(MESDA Research Files.) 

FARMSWORTH, Mrs., Alexandria. 1802. 

"School . . , sewing in its different branches. Embroidery &c." (Alexandria Advertiser and 

Commercial Intelligencer, 13 Aug. 1802.) 

FEMALE ACADEMY, Culpeper County 1808. 

"Useful and ornamental Needle work." (Virginia Herald, 14 Dec. 1808.) 

FEMALE INSTITUTION, New Glasgow. Jefferson County 1819- 

"Plain Needlework . . . Ornamental Needlework." (Richmond Enquirer, -t May 1819) 

FERGUSON, Euphania W., Richmond. 1817-19- 

"Seminary . . . Embroidery, plain and ornamental needlework." (Richmond Commercial Com- 
piler, 12 Sept. 1817 and Richmond Enquirer, 20 Aug. 1819.) 
Needlework picture, Mary Ann Stet.son, 1818. 

FLETCHER, Miss, Norfolk. 1808. 

"SCHOOL . . . Female Education, Marking, Flowering, Lace Work, Tambouring, Embroidery, 

Filligree." (Norfolk Gazette and Puhlick Ledger, 9 May 1808) "Old Methodist Meeting House 

. . . useful and ornamental branches of Female Education." (Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, 

14 Nov 1808.) 

"Mrs. FORE'S SCHOOL," Richmond. 1826. 

Sampler, Elizabeth Davis Blackwell, 1826. 

GARDNER, E, Norfolk Borough. 1766-74' 

"Boarders . . . Embroidery, tent work, nuns do., queenstitch, Irish do. . . . also point, Dresden 

lace work, catgut, &c. Shell work, wan work, and artificial flowers." (Virginia Gazette, 21 Mar. 


See E. Armston. 

Embroidery Elizabeth Boush, 1768-9. 

GARDNER, Mrs., Norfolk. 1801. 

"DAY SCHOOL . . . Dresden, Embroidery Point, Plain Workr (Norfolk Herald, 19 Mar. 1801) 

"Marking." (Ibid., 23 May 1801.) 

GAUTIER, Mrs., A^or/oZ/fe. 1812. 

"Embroidery . . . Tamboring, Needle Work, Point de Paris." (Norfolk Gazette and Puhlick Ledg- 
er 50 ^ov. 1812.) 

GORLIER, Mrs., Norfolk. 1806. 

"Boarding-School . . all sorts of Needle Work and Embroidery." (Ibid., 3 Dec. 1806.) 

GORLIER, Mrs., Richmond, 1812. 

"School ... all kind of Needle Work " (Ibid., 14 Aug. 1812.) 

"GREENWOOD SEMINARY," Probably Hanover County 1817. 
Sampler, Mary W. Tomlin, 1817 

HACKLEY, Mrs., Germanna. Caroline County, 1808. 

"SCHOOL . . . improvement of the young Ladies. " (Virginia Herald, 14 Dec. 1808.) 


HAMLIN, Annc^ West Paint area. r42. 

Silk on linen, Mary Johnson, 17-42. 

HANNAH, EUzdhclh, Alexandria. rs■^-,S'i. 

"School . . . in.structed in writing and needlework " (\'triiiiiia Jaunial and .Ale.xandna .-U/ver 

tiserlSOa. rH-4, 3 Feb. l^HS.) 

HARRISON, Benjamin and Sarah, Mecklenhuri> Cininty. ISOS. 

"BOARDING SCHOOL . . . Needle-Work." (Petersburg hitelligencer. W Sept. 1808.) 

HA'i'DEN, Julia Benham, Sniithfield. Isle of Wight County. 1825-U. 

lulia Hayden, also known as Mrs. Sam.son White, opened a .school in January 1826. She taught 

at Hayden Hall and Oak Grove Academy. (Segar Gofer Dashiell, Smithfield. A Pictorial History.) 

HODGSON. M. Richmond. HHS. r<^)2. r')S. 

"School ... all kinds of needle work." (Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser. HJan. 1788.) 

"Fine works, tambour, and embroidery." (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser. 20 May 

r9S.) "Fine work. Marking, Dresden, Tambour . . . Scrapwork." (Virginia Gazette and General 

Advertiser 20 May I79S.) 

HOPKINSON, Miss Ann, Fredericksburg. I8I5. 

"School . . . plain and ornamental needlework, rug-work, tancy paperwork, and chenille, lambs 

wool and silk embroidery." (Virginia Herald, 6 Sept. 181 S.) 

HOUGH, Ameliai' Waterford. Loudon County. 1811. 

(Bolton and Coe, American Samplers, Boston, 1921, 208.) 

Sampler, Mary Ann Phillips, 1811. 

HUDSON, Mrs., Fredericksburg. r88. 

"Boarding School . . . TAMBOUR. EMBROIDERY, and all kinds oL\EEDLE-WORKr (Virginia 

Herald, 27 Mir. 1788.) 

HUGHES, Frances T.,/?/t-/.)wo«rf. 1809. 1815. 181'. 

"School . . . needle work." (Enquirer, 7 Feb. 1809.) "Academy . . . equal to those of the most 

respectable and flourishing Academies at the North . . . Needle-Work." (Daily Compiler and 

Richmond Commercial Register, 26 Sept. 1817, 29 Sept, 1817) 

"MRS. HURST'S SCHOOL," Frederick County 18(12. 

Sampler, Peggy Castleman, 1802. 

JEFFRIES, Mrs., Richmond. FW. 

"All kinds of needlework." (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser 2^ Aug. 1799.) 

JETT, Mrs., Cnlpeper County 1813. 

"SCHOOL . . , Flowered Needle work . . r (\'irginia Herald. 16 Oct, 1813.) 

JOHNSON, Mrs., Norfolk, after r5(). 

"1 was sent to a Mrs. Johnson ... she taught me needlework and marking on the sampler." (Ring, 
"For Persons of Fortune Who Have Taste," ./o;/n;rt/ of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 3, Nov 
1977 1-23.) 

JONES, Mrs., Fredericksburg. r8<)(J'rom Europe). 

"Boarding School . . . TAMBOUR. EMBROIDERY, plain and coloured NEEDLE WORK.' (Vir- 
ginia Herald: and Fredericksburg Advertiser 10 Sept. r89.) 

LACOMBE, Mrs , Norfolk. 1801. 

"Day School . , , Plain Work. .Marking. Tambour and Embroidery:' (Norfolk Herald. 16 Apr. 


LAWRENCE, Mary^ Waterford. Loudon County 1811. 

(Bolton and Coe, American Samplers.) 

Sampler, Amy Ann Phillips, 1811. 

LAWRENCEVILLE ACADEMY/ Mrs. BOBBIT, Brunswick County 1820. 

"Together with Embroidery." (Petersburg Republican. 13 Oct. 1820.) 

November, 1990 83 

LEE, Mrs., Alexandria, 1797. 

"Academy . . . Fancy Work." (Alexandria Advertiser, 28 Sept. 1797.) 

LEFTWICH, Betsy, Tazewell County, 1815. 

"Mount Prospect Female Academy . . . Needle-work, including Embroidery." (Lynchburg Press, 

27 July 1815.) 

LEPETIT, Lucy, Richmond, 1787. 

"SCHOOL . . . needle work." {Virginia Independent Chronicle, 25 July 1787.) 

LORAIN, Mrs., Bollinghrook, Dinwiddle County 1806. 

"SCHOOL . . . embroidery, tambouring, and needle-work in general." (Republican, 11 Dec. 


LUNT, Betsey, Alexandria, 1798. 

"School . . . Plain Needle Work, Fancy Work and Drawing." (Times and Alexandria Advertiser, 

24 Feb. 1798.) 


"Needle work in its various branches. Embroidery Pin Work." (Lynchburg Press, 15 Sept. 1814.) 

See Sarah Pryor. 

MACDONALD, Mary, Petersburg; Bland/ord. Dinwiddle County 1808. 1816. 
"SCHOOL . . . Tamboring and different kinds of Needle Work." (Petersburg Intelligencer, 7 Oct. 
1808.) "Mary Mc'Donald and Mary Worsham . . . opening a school . . . plain sewing, marking, 
tambouring, and different kinds of needlework." (Republican, 16 Jan. 1816.) 


"Elegant Needle-Work . . . taught by Miss Chandler, who was brought up and educated by 

Mrs. O'Reilly." Mr O'Reilly teaches English in this .school. (Enquirer, 7 Feb., 27 Oct. 1809.) 

MASON, Marian, Alexandria. 1803. 

"Night school where . . . teaches needlework." (MESDA Research Files.) 

MCDONALD, Mary, Fredericksburg, 1805. 

"Boarding School . . . Tambouring with different kinds of Needle work " (Virginia Herald, 

12 Mar. 1805.) 

MERRITT Eliza, Brunswick County 1798. 

"Different kinds of Needle work." (Virginia Gazette, and Petersburg Intelligencer, 16 Mar. 


MITCHELL, Miss, Isle of Wight County 1815. 

"School . . . Needle-Work." (American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 26 Oct. 1815.) 

MOFFIT, Sarah, Norfolk, n88(Jrom Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Portsmouth). 
"SCHOOL MISTRESS . . . Plain work, marking, sprigging . . . true Dresden and Catgut . . . shad- 
ing with silk or worsted; fire and window screens, table covers, chair bottoms, pocket books 
and samplers." (Norfolk and Portsmouth Journal, 23 July 1788.) 

MONTAGUE, Lucy M., Probably Hanover and Caroline counties. 1835-48. 
Also known as Miss Lucy Mary Quisenberry 
Sampler, Sarah E. Reynolds, 1848. 

MORRIS, Richard, Richmond. 1784-85 (from London). 

LADIES in the above-mentioned." (Virginia Gazette, -4 Sept. US-i and Virginia Gazette or the 
American Advertiser, 10 Sept. 1785) 

MORRIS, Mrs./ STEVENSBURG ACADEMY, Culpeper County 1808. 
"Tambouring, and Embroidery." (Virginia Herald, 30 Nov. 1808.) 

MORRIS, Mrs., Staunton, 1815. 

"Late Miss Nixon . . . Needle-work." (Virginia Argus, 2 Dec. 1815.) 



See Betsy Leftwich. 

MUIR, Rev. )3mes, Ale.xaruirici. r9()-9J. 

"Opening an Academy ... a person shall be engaged capable of teaching the branches peculiar 

to the Female Education," (Virginia Gazette and Alexandria Advertiser, S Aug. 1790, 10 Mar. 


Silk on linen, Mary Muir?, 1817 

NEILL, Mrs., Williamsburg. r~b-^~ (from Gloucester County). 

"Boarding School . . . Tambours, and other kinds of Needle Work." (Virginia Gazette, 20 Dec. 

I"6and4july 1777.) 

NORRIS, Ann, A';>/^ George County. 1824. 
Sampler, Martha Smith, 1824, 

OAK GROVE ACADEMY', Smithfield. Isle of Wight County 1836-54. 
See Julia Hayden. 

O'REILLY, Mrs., Alexandria. l8()~t-5 (from Baltimore). 

"Embroidery in chenilles, gold, silver . , . comprising figures, historical and ornamental, land- 
scapes, cloth work in fruit, birds." Baltimore Evening Post: Mercantile Daily Advertiser, 4 Apr 
1805.) "sudden illness has prevented the commencement of Mrs. O'Riley's ladies Academy , . , 
where will be taught maps wrought in silks." (Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intel- 
ligencer, 20 Nov 1804 and Alexandria Daily Advertiser, 1 Jan. 1805.) 
See Mrs. O'Reilly in Richmond and Petersburg. 

O'REILLY, Mrs., Richmond. 1805. 

"ACADEMY . . . embroidery in chenilles, gold, silver . . , maps, wrought in silks . . , cloth work 
. . filagree . . . shell work . , , artificial flowers, tambour and dresden, cross stitch, tent stitch, 
tapestry" (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser, 20 Nov 1805,) 
See O'Reilly in Alexandria and Petersburg, Manchester Female Academy and Miss Chandler, 

O'REILLY, Mrs,, Petersburg, 1813, 1818, 

"Academy , , , elegant and useful embroidery viz: Embroidery in cheniles, gold, silver 
tificial flowers, tambouring." (Petersburg Intelligencer, 4 Feb. 1814.) "School . . . useful, elegant 
and ornamental Needle work," (Petersburg Republican, 'J Aug, 1818) 
See O'Reilly in Richmond and Alexandria, 

ORGAN, Mrs. Pamela, Petersburg, 1817. 

"SCHOOL MISTRESS . . . Plain and Fancy Needlework.' (Petersburg Republican, ^ Aug. 1818.) 

OWENS, Mr. and Mrs., Lynchburg, n d 

"There she studies , . . and other lady-like arts." (Amelia H. Scott, Tales o] the Terrells, and 

Louise A. Blunt, Sketches and Recollections of Lynchburg ) 

PAGAUD, Mrs. Alice, Norfolk. 1806-20. 

"Tutoress . . . Needle Work of every description." (Norfolk Gazette and Puhlick Ledger, 1 Aug 
1806.) "Seminary for Children oihoth sexes . . . Needlework^ (American Beacon and Commer- 
cial Diary, 2'' Dec. 1815.) "School, Sampler Work . . . plain & fancy Needle-work , , Train up 
a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' " (American 
Beacon and Norfolk & Portsmouth Daily Advertiser. 6 Oct. 1819.) "Mr. & Mrs. SWINDELLS 
, . . with Mrs. ALICE PAGAUD . . . BOARDING and DAY SCHOOL . . . Plain and Fancy Needle- 
Work . . . Sampler Work . . . Deeming it necessary that females should be familiarly acquaint- 
ed with the use of the Needle in all the above variety of work, a portion of every day will be 
devoted to this part of their improvement." (Ibid., 14 Dec. 1819.) "Boarding and Day School!' 
(Ibid., 27 Apr. 1820.) 

PERDUE, Mildred C, Petersburg. 1819- 

"SCHOOL . . , plain and embroidery works," (Petersburg Republican. 29 Jan, 1819) 

November, 1990 85 

PETERSBURG FEMALE ACADEMY, Petersburg. 1819-20. 

"[Jonathan Smith] engaged Miss A. BOSWORTH . . . various branches of education usually 
taught in female seminaries . . . plain and ornamental needle work." (Ibid., 24 Dec. 1819.) 
"(Jonathan Smith) engaged MISS ANNE CLARK." (Ibid., 29 Dec. 1820.) 

PEERCE, Mrs., Charles Toivn. 1813- 
"Needle work." (MESDA Research Files.) 

PETRICOLAS, Mrs., Richmond. 1805. 

"Artificial flowers and Plain sewing." (MESDA Research Files.) 

PIERCE, Mrs., iVor/o/yfe. 1''96. 

"Embroidery School . . . EMBROIDERY and TAMBOUR . . . DRESDEN." (Norfolk Herald, 

30 June 1796.) 

"PINEGROVE SCHOOL?" Charles City County. 1809- 
(Bolton and Coe, American Samplers.) 
Sampler, Tullania Evans, 1809. 

PRYOR, Sarah (with husband John), Lynchburg. 1814. 

"School . . . needle work embroidery &c." (Lynchburg Press, 5 May 1814.) 

See Lynchburg Female Academy 

QUISENBERRY, Miss Lucy Mary Probably Caroline and Hanover counties. 1835. 
Also known as Lucy M. Montague. 
Sampler, Mildred B. Chewning, 1835. 

RAMSAY N., Fairfax County. 1767. 

"Binding Cloe Stephens, an orphan age 13 to N[omy] Ramsay to learn needle work and Man- 

tue Making." (Fairfax Parish and Alexandria City Vestry Book 1765-1843, Fairfax County) 

RENAULT, Julia, Richmond. 1815. 

"School . . . Plain Sewing." (Virginia Argus, 5 Aug. 1815.) 

REYNOLDS, Mrs. John (Hannah), Portsmouth, 1807. 

"Plain Sewing and Sampler Work; Working of Muslin . . . Tambour, Embroidery, and Point 

Work." (Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, 9 Jan. 1807.) 

RICARDO, Mrs. R. J., Norfolk. 1811 (from Charleston). 

"SCHOOL . . . Embroidery, Drawing ... all kinds of Needle Work." (Norfolk Herald, 8 May 


"Needle-work." (Enquirer, 29 Jan. 1807) 

RILEY, Miss, Loudon County 1818. 

Miss Ellzey opens school for young ladies, with assistance of Miss Riley "a young lady of very 

polished manners" in needlework. (MESDA Research Files.) 

ROBBINS, Miss, Richmond. 1802 (from London). 

"Boarding School . . . with every useful and polite accomplishment. Particular care will be paid 

to their morals." (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser 24 July 1802.) 

RUDD, Mrs. Hannah, Dinwiddle County 1819-20. 

"Female School . . . needle work, and plain and ornamental." (Petersburg Republican. 30 Nov 

1819 and Petersburg Intelligencer, 25 Jan. 1820.) 

RUSSELL, Mrs., Norfolk. 1820 (from Dublin). 

"Engaged to attend Mrs. Barron's Seminary . . . Rug and Worsted Work , . . Embroidery on 
Satin and Muslin, on a plan entirely new, not before introduced into this Borough." (Norfolk 
Herald. 23 Oct. 1820. and American Beacon and Norfolk & Portsmouth Daily Advertiser, 24 
Oct. 1820.) "Mrs. Barron and Mrs. Russell having united their Establishments . . . Worsted and 
Rug Work, Embroidery Fancy Work . . . Sampler Work and Plain Sewing." (Ibid., 28 Dec. 1820.) 


RYAN, Frances, Fnulcrickshiirii. ISOI. 

"School . . . Plain Sewing Work and Marking." (Courier, 3 Nov, IHdI.) 

SCHWARTZ, Mi.s,s Frcdcrica, Martiiishiirg. IH.U. 

"Will open a ,sewing school . . . teach all kinds of Plain aiul ( )rnanicntal Sewing, Floss and Face 

Work" {Marliushiirg Gazette, 27 Feb. Wt-i.) 

SEWELL, Mrs., Norfolk. 1818-1'). 

"Useful and ornamental branches of learning . . . Needlework." (American Beacon and Nor- 
folk & Portsmouth Daily Advertiser, 29 Dec. 1818) "Needlework." (Ibid., HJan. 1H19.) 

SIMSON, Mrs., Alexandria. r93 (from New York. Charleston, and Philadelphia). 
"SCHOOL . . . teaching all kind of needlework in silk and worsted, crowning darning and plain 
work. Tambour and embroidery . . . she designs the work and executes the drawing " (Colum- 
bian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette, 2-4 July U9^.} 

125. Simson, Mrs. Richmond, P94 (from Philadelphia) 

"BOARDING SCHOOL ... all kinds of needle work . . . shading and taste in the arrangement 

o( p'Merns." (Virginia Gazette and General Adrertiser. P Dec. P'-'-i ) 

See Mrs. Simson in Alexandria. 

SIMSON, Mrs., Fredericksburg. P') 5 (from Philadelphia). 

"BOARDING SCHOOL . . . al kinds of needle work . . . shading and taste in the arrangement 

of patterns." (Virginia Herald & Fredericksburg Advertiser, 8 May 1795.) 

See Simson in Alexandria. 

ST CATHERINE'S SCHOOL, Richmond, nineteenth century. 
See Miss Jennie Ellett. 

SKETCHLEY, Mr. and Mrs., Alexandria. 1811 (from New York). 

"Plain and ornamental needle work," (Alexandria Daily Gazette. IHU.) 

SKETCHLEY, Mr. and Mrs., Belfield. Greensville County 1811 (from Warrenton. N. C ). 
"Academy . . . Young Ladies ... to be instructed in Plain Sewing, Marking, Muslin Work, Em- 
broidery Print and Point Work." (Norfolk Gazette and Puhlick Ledger 18 Oct. 1811.) 

SMITH, Christian, Alexandria. r86. 

"School . . . maybe taught needle work." (Virginia founuil and Ale.xanilria .\dvertiser. 23 Mar. 


SMITH, Christian, Alexandria. r86 (from Charleston). 

"School . . . may be taught needle work," (Virginia fournal. and Alexandria Advertiser 23 

Mar. 1786.) 

SMITH, Maria, Winchester r88. 

"SCHOOL . . . TAMBOUR, DRESDEN EMBROIDERING." (Virginia Centinel. or the Winchester 

Mercury, 28 M^y 1788.) 

SMITH, Mary Ann, iVor/"o//b. Gc}sport. 18r. 

"School . . . Plain and Ornamental Ncedlc-VC'ork." (American Beacon and Commercial Diary, 

2"^ Oct. I8P.) 

STEVENSBURG ACADEMY Culpeper County 1808. 
See Mrs. Morris. 

STILLMAN, Miss Mary, S(nithampton County. Isle of Wight County, nineteenth century.^ 
(Dashiell, Smithfield. A Pictorial History.) 

STURDIVANT, Frances W., Petersburg. n97. 

"SCHOOL . . . TAMBOUR and EMBROIDERY . . . furnished with any kind of drawing on silk, 
muslin, or any kind of stuffs, agreeable to any pattern they chuse." (Virginia Gazette & Peters- 
burg Intelligencer, 2\ Feb. 1797) 

SWINDELLS, Mr. and Mrs., Norfolk. 1819. 

"With Mrs. ALICE PAQUAD . BOARDING and DAY SCHOOL Plain and Fancy Needle 

Work." (American Beacon and Norfolk & Portsmouth Daily .-idvertiser 1-4 Dec. 1819.) 

November, 1990 87 

SWINDELLS, James H., Norfolk, 1820. 

"FEMALE SEMINARY engagement with a Young Lady in New York . . . Fillagree. Embroidery 

. . . useful and ornamental Needle Work!' (Ibid., 20 Apr. 1820.) 

"C. M. T. TEACHER," Wheeling, West Virginia, 1831. 
Sampler, Ellen Caulifield, 1831. 

TARPLEY, Eliza C, Petersburg, 1805. 

"SCHOOL . . . Needlework in all its various branches. ' (Republican, 2 Apr 1805.) 

TENNENT, Mrs., iVor/o/;fe, 1796. 

"To enable her to teach from the most approved methods, as in Britain, she has procured . . . 
a large and genera! Assortment of STAMPS, of the most fashionable patterns." (Norfolk Herald, 
21 July 1796.) 

TENNENT, Mrs., Alexandria. 1795. 

"School . . . embroidery, tambouring, open and needle work, flowering, sewing, marking." 

(Alexandria Advertiser, 28 Sept. 1797.) 

TERREL, Miss/ MOUNT AIRY SCHOOL HOUSE, Caroline County, 1811. 

"FEMALE EDUCATION . . . under the direction of Miss Terrel," (Virginia Argus, 21 Oct. 1811.) 

TOMPKINS, Mary Elliot? Essex County 1823-25. 

Sampler, Martha Ann Waring, 1823-25. 

TURNER, Nancy I., Bedford County 1814. 

"FEMALE education:' (Lynchburg Press, 19 May 1814.) 

VICTOR, Maria, Lynchburg, 1815. 

"Needle work . . . school." (Ibid., 9 Mar. 1815.) 

WADE, Mrs., Port Royal, 1817 (from Maryland). 
Academy . . . Plain and Ornamental Needle-Work and Embroidery." (Virginia Herald, 11 Sept. 


WALKER, Mrs., Williamsburg, r 52 (from London). 

"All kinds of Needle Work." (Virginia Gazette, 17 Nov 1752.) 

WALKER, Mrs., Fredericksburg, l''9-i. 

"BOARDING SCHOOL . . . Embroidery and Tambouring . . . Whitework, Diaper and Muslin 

Ditmn^y (Virginia Herald, and Fredericksburg Advertiser, 16 Oct. 1794.) 

WALLACE, Eliza, Norfolk, 1796-97. 

"SCHOOL . . . Tambouring and Sattin ^brk ... All kinds of Lady's Fancy Patterns drawn fit 

for Working." (Norfolk Herald & Public Advertiser, 28 Aug. 1797) 

WHITE, Mrs. Samson, Smithfield. 1826-54. 
See Julia Benham Hayden. 

WILBER, Miss Mary Alexandria, 1811. 

"School . . . Plain & Ornamental Needle-Work, Embroidery Netting." (Alexandria Daily 

Gazette, 9 MuT. 1811.) 

WINTER, Mr and Mrs., Alexandria, 1820. 

"School . . . Young MISSES will . . . become complete sempstresses." (Alexandria Herald, 6 

Sept. 1820.) 

WLERICH, Mrs., Lynchburg. 1820. 

"BOARDING & DAY SCHOOL . . . Embroidery . . . Muslin work . . . plain work with marking." 

(Lynchburg Press, 1 Apr 1820.) 

WOODSON, Mrs., Nottotvay County 1802. 

"Taught by Mrs. Woodson." 

Sampler, Mary Elizabeth Portress Doswell, 1802. 


WORSHAM, Mary, Blandford. 1816. 

"Mary McDonald and Mary Worsham . , . opening a school . . . plain sewing, marking, tambour 

ing, and different i<inds of needle work." (/?£>/)« Wzt-rt«, 16 Jan. 1816.) 

WRIGHT, Miss, Fredericksburg, 1772 (from England). 

"Boarding School DRESDEN, TENTWORK, SHELLWORK, and all kinds NEEDLEWORK " 

(Virginia Gazette, 27 Feb. 1772.) 

Norfolk. r~3 (from the Vies! Indies and Newport.^). 

"Mrs. HUGHES'S Daughter proposes teaching young Ladies TAMBOUR WORK," (Ibid, 16 Dec. 

1773 and Ring, Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee.) 

Richmond. n''6 (from Norfolk). 

"Mrs. Wheatley's daughter also proposes opening a BOARDING SCHOOL . . . different kinds 

of needle work; the tambour worked and taught." (Virginia Gazette. 20 Ian. 1776.) 

Richmond. 1785. 

"A YOUNG LADY instructing . NEEDLEWORK" (Virginia Gazette or the American 
Advertiser, 12 November PSS.) 

Richmond area. n86. 

"A BOARDING SCHOOL . The Girls on Saturdays will be taught plain Needle Work, and the 
Duties incumbent on Mistresses of Families. No other Difference will be made between the 
Education of Boys and Girls, except the Girls will not be taught Mathematics. . . . Samuel Cole- 
man." (Virginia Independent Chronicle. 18 Oct. 1786.) 
Richmond, 1801. 

"BOARDING SCHOOL FOR Young Ladies ... by a Lady the wife of a Clergyman of the Epis- 
copal Church . . . Plain Work, Embroidery Dresden and every Fashionable accomplishment of 
this description . . . every possible attention will be paid to the morals of their children." (Vir- 
ginia Gazette and General Advertiser, 19 May 1801.) 
Culpeper County. 1808 

"Female Academy . [Tom Elliott] shall open . . useful and ornamental Needle work." (Vir- 
ginia Herald, U Dec. 1808.) 

Portsmouth, 1837 

"For her affectionate teacher." 

Sampler, E. Lee, 1837 


On Death. 

Verse 1. West Point area. r42: 

And I heard a voice from heaven saying 

unto me write, blessed are the dead which 

die in the Lord from henceforth; 

Yea saith the spirit that they may 

rest from their labours & their works do follow them. 

— RcNclatlons l-i:13 
Verse 2. Probably Stafford County, r<J3: 
Here Innocence and Beauty lie whose Breath 
Was snatch'd by early not untimely Death. 
Hence did they go just as they did begin 
Sorrow to know, before they knew to sin. 
Death, that does Sin and Sorrow thus prevent. 
Is the next Blessing to a Life well Spent. 

November, 1990 89 

Verse 3- Probably Stafford County, 1795: 
Her Name shall live and yield a sweet Perfume, 
And (tho in Dust) her Memory shall bloom. 
Tho' I deplore my Loss and wish it Less, 
Yet will I kiss the Rod and acquiesce. 

Verse 4. Shenandoah County. 1802: 

And am I born to die, to lay this body down 

And must my trembling spirit fly into a world 


Verse 5. Richmond', 1812. 

One evening in December last, the six & twentieth day, 

the people that with joyful taste, did go to see a play 

While in the midst of joy & mirth, the house it caught on fire. 

Hundreds enveloped in flames, and many did expire. 

May theatres be done away from off this earthly shore. 

The houses put to better use, and plays be seen no more. 

Verse 6. Norfolk. 1812. 1825 

Disease and pain invade our health 

And find an easy prey 

And Oft when least expected, wealth 

Takes Wings and flies away 

The gourds from which we look for fruit 

Produce us only pain, 

A worm unseen attacks the root 

And all our hopes are vain. 

Verse 7. Prince William County. 1815: 
Before the turf or tomb 
Covers me from mortal eye 
Spirit of instruction come 
Make me learn that I must die. 

Verse 8. Essex County, 1823-25: 

Let sorrow for her early doom 

No more in silence sigh 

For hope which points beyond the tomb 

Bids every tear be dry 

Verse 9- Farmville. 1824: 

Attend poor mortal grief no more 

No more lament thy dear departed friends. 

Their souls are wafted to a happier shore. 

Where every sorrow ends. 

Verse 10. Augusta County. 1828: 

A Tear 

The only gift I can bestow 

On a fond brothers love 

Torn from each others arms below 

May we both meet above 

It is our fate let us submit 

No helping hand is near 

Alas all help comes now too late 

Adieu accept a tear. 


Verse 11. Wheeling, 18M: 
This work in hand my friends may have 
When I am dead and in my grave 
And when my work each time you see 
With fond remembrance think of me, 

\'erse 12 Richmond Omiity. c ISJ5. 
Teach me to live that I may dread 
The grave as little as my bed 
Teach me to live that so I may 
Rise glorious at the awful day 

Verse 13- Middlesex County. 1836: 
May all those 

Whose names are recorded here 
Their dear Redeemer love 
And may they all to him be near 
And dwell in Heaven above 

Verse N. Clark County. 1840-50: 
Their is my house and portion fair. 
My treasure and heart are there, 
and my abiding home 
For me my elder brethren stay 
and angels beckon me away 
and Jesus bids me come. 

Verse 15- Middlesex County. 1844: 

A heap of dust 

Alone remains of thee 

Tis all thou art 

And all that we shall be. 

On Youth. 

Verse 16. Amelici County. 1806: 
Fairest flower all flowers excelling 
Which in Miltons page we see 
Flowers of eves imbowerd dwelling 
Are my fair one types of thee. 
Mark my Polly how the roses 
Emulate thy damask cheek 
How the bud its sweets discloses 
Buds thy opening [see] bloom bespeak. 
Lillies are by Plain direction 
Emblems of a double kind 
Emblems of thy fair complexion 
Emblems of thy fairer mind 
But dear girl both flowers and beautv 
Blossom fade and die away 
Then pursue good sense and duty 
Evergreens which neer decay! 

November, 1990 91 

Verse 17. Hanover County, 1819: 

When snow descends and robes the Fields 

In Winters bright array 

Touched by the Sun the Lustre fades 

And weeps itself away 

When Spring appears when Violets blow 

And shed a rich Perfume 

How soon the Fragrance breathes its last 

How short lived is the Bloom. 

Such are the Charms that flush the Cheek 

And Sparkle in the Eye 

So from the lovely finish & form 

The transient Graces fly 

To the Seasons as they roll 

Their attestation bring 

They warn the Fair ev(r)y Round 

Confirms the Truth 1 sing. 

Verse 18. Essex County, 1823-25: 
When we devote our youth to god 
Tis pleasing in his eyes 
A flower that's offer'd in the bud 
Is no vain sacrifice. 

Verse 19. Richmond, 1828: 
O who will buy my roses 
They are fading like my youth 
But never like these posies shall 
Wither Flora's truth. 

Verse 20. Chesterfield County 1833: 

On Youth 

Fragrant the Rose is, but it fades in time, 
The Violet sweet, but quickly past the prime, 
White lillies hang their heads, and soon decay 
And whiter snow in minutes melts away 
Such and [so] withering [are our early joys] 
Which Time and (sickness] (s]peedily destroy 

Verse 21. Spotsylvania County 1834: 
Remember thy Creator in the days of thy Youth. 

On Time. 

Verse 22. Amelia County, 1806: 
Improvement of time 
Defer not till tomorrow to 
Be wise . . . never rise 
Tomorrows seen to thee may 

On Home and Family 

Verse 23. Isle of Wight County 1761: 
Sellah Fulgham is my name 
Virginia is my nation 
the [Isle of] White my dwelling place 
and Christ my salvation. 


Verse 24. Norfolk, c. 1828: 
The daughter who loves her home 
will take a lively interest in all 
its concerns and be solicitous to 
promote the happiness of the little 
circle of which she forms a part. 

On Duty, 

Verse 2 "i. Xorfolk. c 1828: 

\X'e should prefer our duty to our pleasure. 

On Truth. 

Verse 26. Norfolk. 1828: 

Truth is the brightest ornament of vouth 

On \'irtue, 

\'erse 2~. Fairfax County. n^6: 

Ode to Virtue 

Virtue soft Balm of every Woe 

of every (grief) the cure 

Tis thou alone that canst best bestow 

(Pl]ea[surjes unmi(xe]d [and] pure. 

Verse 28. Williamsburg. r9l: 

Oh Heavenly Virtue Thine A Sacred Flame 

And Still My Soul Pays Homage To Thy Name. 

Verse 29. Ricbmoud. early unieteenlh century: 

On \'irtue 

Virtue's the chiefest Beauty of the Mind 
The noblest Ornament of human Kind 
Virtue's our Safe guard and our guiding Star 
That stirs up Reason when our Senses err. 
Verse 30. Isle of Wight County. 1829: 
1 sigh not for beauty nor languish for wealth 
But grant me, kind providence virtue and health 
Then richer than kings and as happy as they 
My days shall pass sweetly and swifth' awav 

On Nature. 

Verse 31 Harrisonburg. 1834: 

Near Avons banks a cultured spot. 

With many a tuft of flow'rs adorned 

Was once an aged shepherd's cott. 

Who scenes of greater splendour [sc]orned. 

Verse 32. Richmond. 183^: 
To A Redbreast 
Little bird with bosom red 
Welcome to my humble shed 
Daily near my table steal 
While 1 pick(?] my scanty meal 
Doubt not little though there be 
But 111 cast a crust to thee 
Well rewarded if 1 (s|py 
Pleasure in the glanoring eye 

November, 1990 93 

see thee when thoust eat thy full 
Plume thy breast and wipe thy bill 
Come my feathered friend again 
Well thou knowest the broken Pane. 

On Friendship. 

Verse 33. Amelia County, 1806: 
When fortune sits smiling 
What crouds will appear 
Their friendship to offer 
And wishes sincere. 
Change but the prospect 
And point out distress 
No longer to court you 
They eagerly press. 

Verse 34. Loudoun County. 1812. 

O friendship thou (missing) this weaver of life 

Kind creator of each and composer of strife 

With little [missing) wealth and power 

But empty delusions the loss of an hour 

How much to be prized and esteemed is a friend 

On whom we may always with safety depend 

Our joys when extended will always increase 

And griefs when divided are hushed into peace. 

On Idleness. 

Verse 35. Spotslyvania County 1834: 
Idleness brings forward and nourishes 
many bad things. 

On Love. 

Verse 36. Prob. Rockbridge County, c. 1802: 

Palemon and Lavinia 

Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand 

But ill applied to such a rugged task: 

The field, the master, all my fair, are thine, 

Hear ceas'd the youth, yet still his speaking eyes 

Express'd the sacred triumph of his soul 

Nor waited he reply, won by the charms 

Of goodness irresistible, and all 

In sweet disorder lost — she blush'd content. 

— James Thomson, The Seasons, from lines 177-310. 

On Religious and Moralistic Thoughts. 

Verse 37. West Point area. 1742: 

Favour is deceitful and beauty is vaine 

But a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised. 

Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own 

works praise her in the gates. 

— Proverbs 31:30-31 


Verse 38. W'illiamshiirg. c. f'X). 
While Youthful Splendour Lightened In My Eyes 
Clear As The Smiling Glory Of The Skies 
Sprinkled With Radiant Gold A Purple Hue 
My ^X■ings Displayed My Robe Celestial Blue 
More White Than Flax My Curling Tresses Flowed 
My Dimpled Cheeks With Rosy Beauty Glowed. 

Verse 39. Richmond. ISOO: 

No flocks that range the vally free 

To slaughter 1 condemn 

Taught by the power that pities me 

I learn to pity them 

Then turn to night and Freely share 

What er my cell bestows 

My rushy couch and frugal fare 

My blessings and repose. 

Verse -lO. Norfolk, early nineteenth century: 
Remember that the faithful dove 
when biden from the ark to Rome 
was guidede by a God of love 
and the peaceful olive home. 

Verse 41. Nansemond County, 1808. Alexandria. 1809: 

Do you my Fair Endeavour to possess 

An elegance of mind/ As well as dress 

Be that your ornament and know to please 

By graceful natures unaffected ease. 

\erse -iJ. Richmond. 1812 or 18r: 

There cometh a woman of Samaria, 

to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, 

'Give me a drink.' Then saith the woman 

of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, 

being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a 

woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the 


— John 4:~. 4 

Verse 43- Nelson County 1813; 

Prince William County 1815: Shepherdstmrn. 1822; 

Isle of Wight County 183-i: 

Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand 

As the first efforts of an infants hand 

And while her fingers o'er this canvaas move 

Engage her tender heart to seek thy love. 

With thy dear children let her share a part 

And write thy name thy.self upon her heart. 
— English Notes and Queries. 18"! , 
says that this was composed by the 
Rev John Newton for the sampler of his niece, 
Miss Elizabeth Catlett, 

\'erse -i-j Northampton County. 181': 

If 1 am right thy grace impart 

Still in the right to stay 

If 1 am wrong O teach my heart 

To find that better wav 

November, 1990 95 

Verse 45. Prob. Hanover County, 1817 and proh. Caroline County. 1835: 

Religion is the ciiief concern 

Of mortals here below 

May I its great importance learn 

Its sovereign virtue known 

Religion should our thoughts engage 

Amidst our youthful bloom, 

Twill fit us for declining age 

And for the awful tomb. 

More needful this, than glittering wealth, 

Or aught the world bestows, 

Not reputation, food, or health. 

Can give us such repose. 

Verse 46. Alexandria, 1818: 


Tis religion that can give 
Sweetest pleasures while we live 
Tis religion must supply 
Solid comfort when we die 
After death its joys will be 
Lasting as eternity 
Let me then make God my friend 
And on all his ways attend. 

Verse 47. Alexandria, 1818: 

How cheerful along the gay mead 

The daisy and cowslip appear 

the flocks as they carelessly feed 

Rejoice in the spring of the year 

The lord who such wonders could raise 

And still can destroy with a nod 

My lips shall incessantly praise 

My soul shall be wrapp[e]d in my god. 

Verse 48. Lexington, 1819; Loudoun County 1828: Middlesex County 1836: 

Teach me to feel another's woe 

To hide the fault 1 see 

That mercy 1 to others show 

That mercy show to me. 

While some in Folly's Pleasures roll. 

And seek the joys that hurt the soul. 

Be mine that silent calm repast 

A Peaceful conscience to the last. 

Lord when our raptured thous[ands] 

survey Creations beauties oer 

All nature forms to teach thy peace 

And bid our souls adore. 

— Alexander Pope, "The Universal Prayer" 

Verse 49. Norfolk, c. 1820: 
Unshaken as the sacred hill; 
And firm as mountains be: 
Firm as a rock the soul shall rest 
That leans, O Lord, on thee. 
Engrav'd as in eternal brass, 


The mighty promise shines: 

Nor can the pow'rs of darkness raze 

Those everlasting lines. 

\irse 50, Kingdearge Coioily. IS2~f: 
O child most dear incline thine ear 
And hearken to God's voice. 
His counsel take for he doth make 
His children to rejoice. 

Verse 51. Richmond. 1826: 

Oft pining cares in rich brocades are drest 

And dainions glitter on an anxious brest. 

\erse 52. Richmond. 1828. 

Agur's Prayer 

Remove far from me vanity and lies 

give me neither poverty nor riches 

feed me with food convenient for me 

lest I be full and deny thee 

and say who is the Lord 

Or lest I be poor and steal and take 

the name of my God in vain 

Verse 53- Norfolk. 1828: 

Retired from the bustle of life, 

In a near little cot of my own; 

A stranger to trouble and strife, 

With a friend all my wishes to crown; 

How calm and contented I'd live: 

Ah! sweetly my moments would flow — 

The best of stores would I give 

To relieve the poor suffer — er's wo. 

Verse 5-^. Lexington. 1833: 

Twill save us from a thousand snares 

To mind religion young 

It will preserve our following years 

And make our virtue strong. 

Verse 55. Portsmouth. 183^: 

The Golden mean 

He that holds fast the golden mean 

And lives contentedly between 

The little and the great 

Feels not the wants that pinch the poor 

Nor plaques that haunt the rich mans door 

Imbitt'ringall his taste 

The tallest pines feel most the pow'r 

Of wint'ry blast; the loftiest tow'r 

Falls heaviest to the ground 

The bolts that spare the mountain side 

His cloud capt eminence divide 

And .spread the ruin round 

Present blessing undervalue[e|. 

— From Horace's Ode, "Moderation" 

November, 1990 97 

Verse 56. New Market, 1844: 
He that hath made his refuge 
God shall find a most secure abode 
Shall walk all day beneath his shade 
And there at night shall 
rest his head. 

Verse 57. New Market. 1844: 

Thou sweet gliding kedron by thy silver streams 

Our Saviour at midnight when moonlights pale beam 

Shone bright on the waters would frequently stray 

And lost in thy murmurs the toils of the day 

O garden of Olivet thou dear honourd spot 

The fame of thy wonder shall neer be forgot 

The theme most transporting to seraphs above 

The triumph of sorrow the triumph of love. 

Verse 58. Prob. Orange County. 1848: 

Let deep repentance faith, and love 

Be join'd with godly fear; 

And all my conversation prove 

My heart to be sincere 

Let lively hope my soul inspire 

Let warm affections rise; 

And may I wait with strong desire 

to mount above the skies. 

The author would like to thank the staff of the Museum of Early 
Southern Decorative Arts and the Department of Collections at 
Colonial Williamsburg for their gracious assistance with this 
project. A special acknowledgement is extended to Dywana Saun- 
ders who first introduced me to Virginia schoolgirl embroideries 
and Linda Baumgarten who provided moral and academic sup- 
port throughout this endeavor 

Kim Smith is the Assistant Curator of Textiles in the Department 
of Collections at Colonial Williamsburg and a former MESDA 
Summer Institute student. 



1. Albert Cook Myers, ed., Sully \\"isli'rsJ(>itnuil{\'h\hLk\ph\A, 19()J), 1S9. 

2. Anne Blair to Mrs. Mary Braxton, 21 Aug. 1769, Blair, Banister, Braxton, Horner, Whiting 
Papers, 39. 1 B58, Manuscripts and Rare Books Dept., Earl Swem Library, College of William 
and Mary, Williamsburg, Va. A "tucker" was a form of neck handkerchief. 

3. Conversation with Arlington, July 1989. Martha's sampler is in the collection of 
Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, National Park Service. Martha worked her 
family record sampler in silk cross and Algerian eye stitches on a linen ground while she 
was living at Chatham in Stafford County It measures 22 " X 21 " and records the marriage 
of her parents and births and deaths of siblings. For illustrations of the sampler, see Can- 
dace Wheeler, The Development of Embroidery in America (New York, 1921), S2a, and 
Gloria Seaman Allen, Family Record: Genealogical W'atercolors and Needlework (Washing- 
ton, D. C, 1989), 90. 

4. "Queries," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography -^ (189"): -tb''-8. 

5. Paula B, Ricter, Registrar, Essex Institute, to the author, 21 July 1989. 

6. At the present time 1 have located 190 samplers and needlework pictures that appear to be 
Virginia work. Of the 190 embroideries, I am confident that 127 are Virginia pieces because 
of the Virginia names and locations that are worked on them, genealogical research, and 
their identical relationship to other proven Virginia pieces. Based on their formats, styles, 
techniques, or oral histories, the other 63 embroideries appear to be Virginia work, but 
more research is still needed to document them definitely 

'' . I hope that this introduction to Virginia needlework will arouse the curiosity of other 
scholars and provide a basis for future research and identification of Virginia embroideries. 

8. Betty Ring, Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee: Needlework in the Education of Rhode Island 
Women. /"JO/SJO (Providence, R. 1., 1983), 24-S. 

9. Ibid, 23-4. 

10. Ibid, 31-2. 

11. Ibid, 36-^. 

1 2 . Edwin Morris Betts and James Adam Bear, Jr, eds. , The Eamily Letters of Thomas Jefferson. 
(Charlottesville, Va., 1986), 3^. 

13. William K. Bottorff and Roy C. Flannagan, eds., "The Diary of Frances Baylor Hill of Hills- 
borough,' " Early American Literature Neii'sletter, special ed., 2 (Winter 196"); 22-3. 2S, 
30, S3. 

1-4. Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, 19 Aug. 180" , information courtesy Patricia A. Gibbs. 

15. For further information about girls' education, see Ring, Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee, and 
Susan Swan, Plain and Fancy. American Women and Their Needlework (New York. 1977). 

16. Lecture by Betty Ring. Antiques Forum. Williamsburg, \'a., Feb. 19,SS. 

P. Williamsburg Virginia Gazette. 1" Nov r^2. Williamsburg Mrginia Gazette (Dixon and 
Hunter), 20 Dec. r''6. 

18. Ring, Let Virtue Be a Guide to Thee. 36-" 

19. In April 1990 Betty Ring described what is general belief: "There are no recognizable 
groups of eighteenth-century embroideries from the South, and no more than six groups 
from the nineteenth century, with four of those from Maryland." "Documents of Educa- 
tion: Samplers and Silk Embroideries from the Collection of Betty Ring," exhibit label, 
Museum of American Folk Art, New York, 21 April-24 June 1990. The Virginia .samplers I 
have grouped are in addition to those groups she has identified. See also the catalog that 
accompanied the exhibit, Betty Ring, American Needlework Treasures: Samplers and Silk 
Embroideries from the Collection of Betty RingCSicv,- York, 19S"), 5(1. 

November, 1990 99 

20. This attention to furniture construction techniques includes the use of dust boards, com- 
posite block feet, and finished backsides. For further discussion of Virginia furniture, see 
Wallace B. Gusler, Furniture of Williamsburg and Eastern Virginia, 7770-/790 (Richmond, 
Va., 1979). 

2 1 . For good descriptions and illustrations of needlework stitches, see Pamela Clabburn, The 
Needleworker's Dictionary, (London, 1976). 

22. It should be mentioned here that the square format with decorative borders on all four 
sides was popular throughout England and the United States in the nineteenth century. Of 
special note is the appearance in many Virginia pieces of birds and half-open 

23 . Mary did not include where she lived on her sampler. However, family tradition attributes 
it to the West Point area, and the birth of a Mary Johnson in 1730 has been located in the 
register of St. Peter's Parish, New^ Kent County 

24. Clabburn, Needleworker's Dictionary, 35. It is a seven-step stitch achieved by taking the 
needle back to the first hole after making the first diagonal stitch, putting the needle in at 
the center and out at the bottom right, and then taking the .second diagonal. To complete 
the cross stitch on the back, the needle must be brought out at the bottom right, which po- 
sitions the needle for the next cross stitch. I have been told that it takes an experienced 
needleworker ten minutes to work just one letter using this stitch. The seven-step cross 
stitch is seen consistently in Virginia needlework. 

25. Ethel Stanwood Bolton and Eva Johnston Coe, American Samplers (Boston. 1921), 53, 332. 
I am particularly interested in locating this piece of needlework. Any information would 
be most welcome. 

26. Clabburn, The Needleworker's Dictionary, 56. 

27. Frances Norton Mason, e<i.,Jobn Norton & Sons Merchants of London and Virginia: 
Being the Papers from their Counting House for the )ears 1750 to 1795 (Richmond, Va., 
1937), 258. 

28. Alexandria Daily Gazette, 6 Mar. 1810. 

29. For further discu.ssion on changes in family life reflected in needlework, see Allen, Fami- 
ly Record. 

30. For further information on the Cofer and Delk samplers, see Charlotte M. Emans, 'An Anal- 
ysis of The Elizabeth M. Cofer Sampler Dated 1834," research report. Department of Col- 
lections, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Va. 

31 . There was at least one copy of James Thomson's The Seasons in Williamsburg in 1752, 
three by 1764, and it was advertised in the Virginia Gazette during the years 1768-76. In- 
formation courtesy of John Ingram. 

32. For further information on Elizabeth's needlework picture, see Betty Ring, "For Persons of 
Fortune Who Have Taste: An Elegant Schoolgirl Embroidery, "/o//r«fl/ of Early Southern 
Decorative Arts }i {Nov. 1977): 1-23. 

33. Virginia Gazette. (Purdie), 21 Mar. 1766. 

34. Ring, "For Persons of Fortune Who Have Taste, " 2. 

35. For further discussion of needlework patterns, see Margaret Swain, Figures on Fabric: Em- 
broidery Design Sources and Their Application (London, 1980). 

36. Norfolk Herald, 21 July 1796. 

37. Richmond Virginia Independent Chronicle (Richmond, 'Va.), 18 Oct. 1786. 

38. For further discission of Quaker schools, see Betty Ring, "Samplers and Pictorial Needle- 
work at the Chester County Historical Society," Antiques 126 (Dec. 1984): 1422-33. 

39. For further information on the Lexington Female Academy .see William W. Pusey 111, Elu- 
sive Aspiration: The History of the Female Academy in Lexington. Virginia (Lexington, 
Va., 1983). 

100 MESDA 

-40. For example, the following verse has been documented on a Hanover County sampler and 
a Nova Scotia sampler: 
When snow descends, and robes the fields 
in winters bright array 
Touched by the sun the lustre fade 
And weeps itself away 

When Springs appears — when violets blow 
And shed a rich perfume 
How soon the fragrance breathes its last 
How short lived is the bloom. 

41, lf.xic Witts'^ Diririe Songs for Chikin'ii was offered for sale in the Virginia Ahucincic for 
the years P44-(iS. Information courtesy of John Ingram, 

42. Averil Colby, Samplers (London. IWh), 210, 

-t.S, Eliza Woodrow's small sampler of about 1S()8 is illustrated and discu.s.sed m Klisabeth Don- 
aghy Garrett, 'American Samplers and Needlework Pictures in the DAR Museum," Aiiln/ues 
105 (Feb, 1974): 356-6-4 

November, 1990 101 

MESDA seeks manuscripts which treat virtually any facet of southern decorative 
art for publication in the JOURNAL. The MESDA staff would also like to 
examine any pnvately-held primary research material {documents and manu- 
scripts) from the South, and southern newspapers published in 1820 and earlier. 

Some back issues of the journal 
are available. 

The preparation of xht Journal ^2& made possible (in part) by a grant from 
the Research Tools and Reference Works Program of the National Endowment 
for the Humanities, an independent Federal Agency. 

Photographs in this issue by the staff of the Museum of Early Southern 
Decorative Arts except where noted. 

102 MESDA 


Forsyth Alexander, Editor I Acting Director of Publications 

Nancy Bean, Office Manager 

Ruth Brooks, Associate in Education 

Sally Gant, Director of Education and Special Events 

Paula Hooper, Coordinator of Membership Services 

Frank L. HORTON, Director Emeritus 

MadELYN MOELLER, Director 

Bradford Rauschenberg, Director of Research 
Martha Rowe, Research Associate 
Wesley Stewart, Photographer 
Margaret Vincent, Collections Manager